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Fine Japanese Works of Art from the Edward Wrangham Collection (Online only) / A rare tonkotsu (tobacco box) and kiseruzutsu (pipecase) By Kaigyokudo Masateru, late 19th century (2)

LOT 56
A rare tonkotsu (tobacco box) and kiseruzutsu (pipecase)
By Kaigyokudo Masateru, late 19th century
18 June – 9 July 2018, 10:00 BST
Londres, New Bond Street

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A rare tonkotsu (tobacco box) and kiseruzutsu (pipecase)

By Kaigyokudo Masateru, late 19th century
The tonkotsu of lacquered wood, in the form of a large double gourd, the smaller end folded over and with a figure clinging to the top, the figure dark-stained and the gourd lacquered in pale tan with gold-lacquered leaves carved in relief, signed motome ni ojite Naniwa-tsu son'in no atari no ju Kaigyokudo, with kao; the kiseruzutsu in the form of a namazu (catfish) carved from kurogaki wood, with open mouth, the fins lacquered gold and the eyes inlaid with pale and dark horn, both signed Mizuno-e-tora motome ni ojite Naniwa-tsu son'in no atari no ju Kaigyokudo with kao; with a bamboo and brass pipe, unsigned; and a ceramic double-gourd ojime, unsigned. The tonkotsu 10.5cm (4 1/8in) high, the pipe case 19cm (7½in) long. (2).


瓢箪形漆塗とんこつ 一点
木製漆塗きせる筒 鯰形 一点 
竹製きせる 無銘

Provenance: purchased at Christie's, London, 1968.
Wrangham collection, no.871 for the tonkotsu, no.872 for the pipe case.

Published: E. A. Wrangham, The Index of Inro Artists, Alnwick, Harehope Publications, 1995, p.169, Masateru, Kaigyokudo, left.

Masateru was the grandson of Kaigyokusai Masatsugu and worked mainly with wood. He lived in Osaka at the end of the 19th century and the first years of the 20th century. The signatures on the tonkotsu and the kiseruzutsu read: Made by Kaigyokyudo, resident near a village shrine in the port of Naniwa (an old name for Osaka), in the mizuno-e-tora (year of the tiger [1902]).

The subject is often said in Western references to be the deity Kadori Myojin, although this information cannot be found in any Japanese source. It is perhaps more likely that the artist intended to depict the famous subject of 'Catching a Catfish with a Gourd,' best known from a National Treasure painting by Josetsu in the Taizoin Temple, Kyoto. A lively recent English-language discussion of Josetsu's painting, which was in part intended as an allegory on the difficulty of attaining enlightenment, can be found at

The Edward Wrangham Collection of Japanese Art: Part VI, lot 66.

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