Important exhibited piece by well-known Nihonga painter Hirai Baisen(1889 – 1969), made in collaboration with Kyoto potter Kuze Kyūhō I(1874-1947). Piece dates to late 1920s or early 1930s, a time when Baisen was withdrawing from national exhibitions, focusing on creating pieces for a large group of collectors that supported him until his passing. Daikoku’s magic mallet was decorated with painted pine, bamboo and plum, known in Japan as “Three Friends of Winter” or shochikubai. Such okimono would be placed on display in tokonoma during the New Year’s celebration. Painters in Japan would sometimes decorate ceramic pieces;, however, they are very hard to find. Piece is 8.2 x 8.5 x 16 cm (length with cord 29.5 cm), made of stoneware, with ink, colors and enamel decoration, silk fibers. Minor loss of pigments, minor discoloration and abrasions, consistent with age. Sealed by potter and signed by painter, transcription of all seals, signatures and box inscriptions with accompanying Certificate of Authenticity. Exhibited at the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens, Delray Beach, Florida during “Emblems of Celebration” exhibit, January 8 to February 20, 2013. Photocopy of loan agreement will be included.
Kuze Kyūhō I 初代久世久宝(1874-1947)was a Kyoto based potter, excelling in tea ceremony utensils, and known for his collaborations with leading painters of the period. Hirai Baisen 平井楳仙(1889 – 1969) was a child prodigy. In 1907, after graduating from the Kyoto Prefectral School of Painting at the age of seventeen, he exhibited his paintings in the first ever Annual Exhibit of the Japanese Art Academy Bunten (today known as Nitten). His paintings won top awards and his name quickly became known in the art world. His unique birds-eye views and wet brush strokes were indicative of the latest developments in Japanese style paintings known as Nihonga. By the early 1930s, Baisen had fallen out of favor with the art critics, but he was fortunate to have a major following of collectors, organized in a group called The Plum Promotion Society (Baisuikai 楳推會)that supported him throughout his life.