Height: 12 1/2 inches, 32 cm
Diameter: 2 inches, 5 cm


Lacquer vase by Togashi Mitsunari

Japan, exhibited Showa 12 (1937)

A lacquer vase of square section, the surface deliberately rendered so as to resemble metal. The sides gently taper toward a flared mouth and a flared base. The middle section is formed by a protruding flange of square section and composed of mustard yellow, black, orange and red layers. The base of the vase is signed with four engraved Manyo-gana characters, reading Mitsunari. The vase is contained within its original wooden storage box (tomobako) with sliding lid. The lid of the tomobako is inscribed Rakuura Mitsunari, hanasashi (a flower vessel, Rakuura Mitsunari) with the seal Mitsunari. Two paper pamphlets relating to this vase survive inside the box.

In Japanese,光成 can be pronounced Kosei as well as Mitsunari. Mitsunari is the artist Togashi Mitsunari (1885 – 1967), who was born in Murakami City, Niigata prefecture, but was active in Tokyo and studied Kamakurabori (a type of lacquer ware made in the area around the city of Kamakura in Kanagawa prefecture) under Tsuishu Yosei XX (1880 – 1952). He regularly exhibited at the Bunten and Nitten exhibitions. He also exhibited at the second, fourth and fifth Japan Traditional Art Craft Exhibition (Nihon Dento K.geikai) from 1957 to 1960. The Rakuura is a studio used by Togashi. A striped lacquer box in the tsuihitsu technique by this artist, made in 1957, is in the collection of the MOMAT, the Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo, in their National Crafts Museum.