Incense box made of bamboo with black and gold lacquer. Comes with the original fitted kiri-wood tomobako storage box inscribed Kōgō (Incense Box) and signed Iwao saku (made by Iwao) with seal mark Iwao
Ikeda Iwao was raised in a basket-weaving family steeped in the aesthetics of the tea ceremony. In deference to his father’s wishes he enrolled in Tokyo National University of Arts to study lacquering. For many years he crafted exquisitely decorated lacquer boxes for the tea ceremony. Then, around 1990, he started making much simpler pieces. “It was as if I had begun a new journey to seek an innovated expression.”
Ikeda’s whole career has been something of a struggle with the Japanese idea of meticulousness and polish and he has often felt the need for a more liberated mode of self-expression. At one time he even experimented with the idea of deliberately smashing his finished works but this box reflects a less extreme reaction. Robust in appearance, it achieves an effective compromise between modernity and tradition, West and East, art and craft, unpolished and polished.