A very unusual musozutsu-style pipe case: some of the five techniques used in the construction of its seven sections are more familiar to basketry than pipe cases. Bamboo is a material embedded in Japanese daily life and culture, and it’s also one of the most versatile materials used in Japanese art.
From the bottom upwards, the first section features a tight vertical weave followed by long, vertical strips that have been lightly smoked. Then follows a very unusual weave constructed of horizontal thin strands with dark V-shape sections woven into them. Dark, vertical, long-lacquered strips complete the bottom section and start the top of the pipe case, followed by my favourite section, where six strands meet in the centre to form a tight circular knot, something I’ve never seen on a pipe case, being more commonly used to decorate baskets. The top ends as the bottom began, with a tight vertical weave. This pipe case never made its way to a lacquer artist’s hands for further decoration; it’s a piece that was created to show off the brilliance of the anonymous bamboo artist’s skill.
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