A rare brown lacquer ink-cake-shaped three-case inro By Kengen, School of Ogawa Ritsuo, 18th century
Lot 142
A rare brown lacquer ink-cake-shaped three-case inro
By Kengen, School of Ogawa Ritsuo, 18th century
Sold for £18,750 (US$ 29,340) inc. premium

Lot Details
A rare brown lacquer ink-cake-shaped three-case inro By Kengen, School of Ogawa Ritsuo, 18th century A rare brown lacquer ink-cake-shaped three-case inro By Kengen, School of Ogawa Ritsuo, 18th century A rare brown lacquer ink-cake-shaped three-case inro By Kengen, School of Ogawa Ritsuo, 18th century
A rare brown lacquer ink-cake-shaped three-case inro
By Kengen, School of Ogawa Ritsuo, 18th century
Of rectangular form, the entire surface of mottled-brown lacquer, engraved with crackle to simulate age, carved on one side with a crane flying over a warbler perched in a pine tree, enclosed within a circular medallion, the reverse with a three-line Chinese poem in a rectangular panel, on one narrow side is an inscription Taiitsu shin'ichi no sumi (in Chinese, Taiyi zhenyi zhi mo) (the finest ink in the universe) and on the other, the signature of the calligrapher, Hosoi Kotaku with seal; the interior of plain lacquer, signed in seal form Kengen. 7.6cm (3in).

Footnotes

  • 濃茶色古墨意匠松に鶴図印籠 銘「建元(方印)」 18世紀

    Provenance: Jacques Carré collection, purchased from Barry Davies Oriental Art, London, 2000.
    Edward Wrangham collection, no.2177.

    The poem transcribes:

    鶴曰福禄壽閣
    鶯曰樹草生闕
    萬暦乙酉立春日

    And translates:

    "The crane bespeaks the hall of good fortune, rank and longevity,
    The warbler bespeaks the gate of living trees and plants", with the date Wanli, the year of the rooster, beginning of Spring (1585).

    The Japanese calligrapher and Confucian scholar Hosoi Kotaku (1658-1736) was a contemporary of Ogawa Haritsu (Ritsuo), the first Japanese lacquerer to make inro in imitation of Chinese ink tablets. With their mutual interest in Chinese studies, it seems also likely that Kotaku and Haritsu might have known each other.
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