A lacquer square tray Style of Honami Koetsu, 17th century
Lot 400*
A lacquer square tray Style of Honami Koetsu, 17th century
£5,000 - 6,000
US$ 8,500 - 10,000
Auction Details
Lot Details
A lacquer square tray
Style of Honami Koetsu, 17th century
Decorated in gold and black takamakie with a broad dark band inlaid in pewter, arching over boats tethered to form a bridge amid waves, with a waka poem inscribed in chirashi-gaki (scattered writing) arranged over the design, with the characters for 'bridge' omitted, and the image filling in the missing word as a visual pun, unsigned; with wood storage box. 3cm x 27.5cm x 27.5cm (1 1/8in x 10¾in x 10¾in). (2).

Footnotes

  • 船橋図蒔絵盆(倣本阿弥光悦) 無銘 17世紀

    The waka poem inscribed on the tray is by the Imperial Officer and poet Minamoto no Hitoshi (880-951). The poem is taken from the Gosen Wakashu (Later Collection of Japanese Poems), the second of Imperially sponsored compilations, commissioned in 951 at the behest of Emperor Murakami. The poem would have been familiar to any cultured person of Koetsu's day.

    The poem transcribes:

    東路の / 佐野の(船橋) / かけてのみ / 思ひ渡るを / 知る人のなき

    And reads:

    Azumajino / Sano no (funabashi) / kaketenomi / omoiwataru o / shiruhitono naki

    And may be translated as:

    Like the long bridges between ships in Sano on the road to the East / reminds me of the love which bridges the gulf between us / but you have not noticed my love at all.

    This bold use of lead was pioneered by Honami Koetsu (1558-1637) and much imitated in later times. This tray emulates the Funabashi makie suzuribako ('The Pontoon Bridge' writing box) by the artist which employed an almost identical design and poem, and is in the collection of The Tokyo National Museum, designated as a 'National Treasure'.
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