A four-case inrō that was created out of a partnership between Shibata Zeshin and Bokusai, depicting kachiguri (victory chestnuts) split from their husks in gold, silver and reddish brown lacquer by the hand of Zeshin. The body of the inrō was constructed by Bokusai from paulownia wood with a masame-grain (straight grain), the cord runners and top and bottom crafted from ebony.
Kachiguri is a dried chestnut specially prepared for gifting and often eaten at New Year celebrations. It was particularly popular amongst Samurai households and eaten before battle. The word “kachi” literally means “to win” and “victory”, whereas “kuri” (guri) means chestnut.
Storage box inscriptions:
Top of lid
Made by an old man, Zeshin, inrō with the design of Kachiguri.
This is to attest that this titled work is a genuine work by Zeshin, an old man. The inrō is made of the paulownia wood with masame-grains (straight grains); the woodwork by Bokusai the first, and the sabi-maki-e finish, which was a specialty of the old man Zeshin, authenticated by Shoji Hoshin. With a Hoshin seal.
Fukuoka Bokusai I (active mid-late 19th c)
Bokusai I worked with Zeshin, Taishin and Shibata Shinsai producing woodwork, which they in turn lacquered. He was reputed to be the number one Sashimono-shi (woodwork craftsman) in Edo. Bokusai’s most famous commission was a wood storage box for a ceremonial cap/hat for the Meiji Emperor. He was awarded numerous prizes and awards for his work.
Shoji Hoshin (circa 1898-1993)
Hoshin was a follower of Chikushin, who in turn was a pupil of Shibata Zeshin. Hoshin was born in Tokyo. He rose to become a senior restorer of important cultural fine art and crafts at the Agency for Cultural Affairs. He was a member of the Kyoto Koga bijyutsu kyokai and was awarded the Order of the Sacred Treasure by the Emperor.”
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