Buddhist Flower Basket

  • Muromachi period
  • 14-16c
  • Lacquered bamboo
  • H-4.4 D-27
    Said to have been handed down in Hannyaji
Catalogue Entry

Inheriting the Indian tradition of greeting aristocratic guests with flowers, flowers are scattered by several monks to welcome the Buddha to Buddhist rituals. Flower baskets were used on these occasions to hold either live flowers or flower petals cut from paper. These baskets can be bamboo baskets, as here, or paper mache or gilt bronze in structure.

This work is woven in two layers with a basket weave pattern on the inside and a flower shaped weave on the exterior. The bamboo has then been coated with lacquer. The edge is woven with thin bamboo strips and cloth is worked into the edges of the two weaves, where it is then firmed with lacquer. The flower‐shaped bamboo weave is relatively close to that found on works remaining in the Hozoden of Horyouji temple.

The basket is light and the viewer delights in the flowing lines of its weave. The base coat of lacquer is particularly glossy in tone.