Ogawa Haritsu (Ritsuo) (1663-1743)

Edo period, 18th century

A black lacquer four-case inro in the form of a Chinese rectangular ink-cake

Signed: Muchuan Ritsuo with seal Kan

8.9 cm high


Provenance: Bonhams: London, 12.05.2011, lot 56


Simulating chips on the borders, the inro is carved on one side with Buddha seated on a lotus throne, flanked by two acolytes above a Buddhist invocation, while the reverse is similarly carved with a panel bearing the three characters Ho (Treasure), Ro (Dew), and Dai (Stand) within a border of takaramono. The interior is decorated in black and gold lacquer.

With a black lacquer netsuke in the form of a partly-used ink-cake, lacquered to one side with the character Ho (Treasure) and on the reverse Hon (Book).

Ogawa Haritsu who is usually known by his sobriquet, Ritsuo, was born holding the rank of samurai, but he early renounced the career of arms to turn to art. He was one of the first artists to incorporate diverse materials into his lacquer wares, utilizing the excellent adhesive qualities of lacquer to combine wood-glazed ceramic, metal, shell, and other materials with traditional maki-e techniques, obtaining eccentric and fine results. A revival of interest in Haritsu's style and techniques during the 19th century is best exemplified in the copies of his work by Shibata Zeshin (1807-1891), the foremost Japanese lacquerer of the 19th century.


Inventory Nr: 3

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