A wood pipe case of musozutsu form by Toshiyama Shoko. To the front, a Gigaku mask with an inscription above “A Gigaku mask in the collection at the Todaiji temple”. The Todaiji temple is located in Nara and is best known for its massive hall, named Daibutsuden (Big Buddha Hall), which holds one of Japan’s largest bronze statues of the Buddha. The Todaiji temple is also home to a large collection of Gigaku masks, the inspiration for the pipe case.
To the rear of the case is a stone in the form of Daruma with an inscription next to it “A stone in a shape of Daruma (Bodhidharma from the West) which was cherished by Priest Dokutan”. This refers to Priest Toyoda Dokutan (1840–1917), a Rinzai Zen priest who was the 322th abbot of Nanzenji Temple (Kyoto) and 590th abbot of Myoshinji Temple (Kyoto).
While I love the connection of the subject with places and people from Japanese history, the material that Soko chose for the case is truly exquisite. The grain of the wood flows and weaves its way down the case, the stain and polish accentuate the grain. The case comes complete with a cloisonne ojime and pouch with gold and silver clasp showing Daikoku holding a large radish. To the inside of the pouch is an arrow, “Hama Yumi” (“Evil-banishing bow”), with a paper stream bearing the inscription that translates to “Just spot on”.
Pipe case signed, Sōkō with kao (Toshiyama Soko 1868–1935)
Pouch signed, Mitsuhiro
All late Meiji into early Taisho period, 19th – 20th century
Other works by Toshiyama Soko and similar examples:
A comparable pipe case was offered at Bonhams New York, from the Bluette H. Kirchhoff Collection of Netsuke and Sagemono, 16 Sep 2009, lot 2207 – $6710
Christie’s, Japanese and Korean Art, New York 18 April 2018 – An incense container in the form of a monkey, lot 56, $40,000
Bonhams London, the Edward Wrangham Collection of Japanese Art Part III, 15 May 2012, lot 151, A pipe case with a poem – £3,750
Rosemary Bandini, the Larry Caplan Collection of Japanese Netsuke, 2019, Small sculpture.
If you are interested in purchasing this pipe case you can contact me via the details below.
Phone or Whatsapp: +447534 423 803
Web: Click Here (quote title)