Vintage Japanese Bronze Three-section Tripod Ikebana Usabata

This Japanese bronze Usabata has a beautiful and natural rich dark brown patina and is from the Showa period. The piece is in excellent and original condition. Objects of this type were first discovered by Westerners during international expositions. The entire piece is bronze, and has a raised village and mountain landscape motif in the center of the main section. The top container (used for Ikebana arrangements) is removable and spreads out to overshadow the entire vase, and measures 11 5/8” w. The center section with the footed base was used as a flower vase (with a container insert), giving dual purpose to the piece. The handles are examples of the “dog mask” motif while the tripod base is simple and delicate (this third section allows the base/feet to be removed for cleaning). Age: mid 20th/c. Dimensions: 8-0” w x 10-3/4” h. Weight: 11lbs.

Historical Information —

During the Meiji, (1868-1912), into the Taisho, (1912-1926), periods, many urban young women practiced Ikebana to round out their cultural knowledge, thus making themselves more desirable brides-to-be, a custom that could still be observed until quite recently. But this wonderful art of flower arrangement reaches back much further in history. It was the Japanese that understood the value of color in metal. In many Ikebana containers, bronze, gold, silver, copper, zinc, and black-metal, were incorporated into the creation of them.

Ikebana has been practiced for more than 600 years, originating in the Buddhist ritual of offering flowers to Buddha. Japanese Buddhist priests developed ways to present their altar offerings in containers such as the piece shown.

The oldest School of Ikebana is Ikenobu, which traces its origins to a Buddhist priest of the Rokkakudo Temple in Kyoto. He was especially skilled in arranging flowers for altars, and taught many other priests. At first Ikebana was only practiced by priests and members of the nobility, but by the late 15th century it had evolved enough to be appreciated by general population. This naturally gave birth to a large number of schools throughout Japan, all with their own fixed styles of follower arrangement and instructional booklets.

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