Antique Negoro Lacquer Ritual Wash Basin with Raised foot | Fusatsu darai
Dimensions: 17-3/4” dia. x 5-1/4” h
This Negoro-ware basin originally held water for rinsing hands in preparation for a Buddhist ritual ceremony. Offered is a lacquered washbasin of graceful form consisting of an open, hollow center bowl made from one solid piece of wood and raised on a low flared and carved base. The piece exemplifies the “negoro” technique of the design of a simple but elegant utilitarian object. It’s finished in red lacquer on a black underside. Through repeated use, the red has softened, making an elegant but aged patina. This sense of age and loving use greatly appealed to the Japanese and in particular the religious sect of this period. The craftsman is unknown, but there is a paper label on the bottom that says “made in Japan”. Extremely large utilitarian bowl of its type is rarely seen.
Antique Condition: Good condition for its age with slight surface wear, minimal fading, flaking on one spot of the lip of the rim, and a small, old hairline crack, (see image details). Aging from use typically seen with most lacquer surfaces on older Negoro objects. As is”, for it seems to have been repeatedly used, but retains the original craft/workmanship. Any discoloration, chipping/cracking, surface wear, or structural damage is noted.
NOTE: When visiting Koyasan on a buying trip in 1998, we saw pieces of this type used in monks' quarters in a Temple named Nyonindo. Objects of this type are known as a “fusatsu darai”, and one of the most important forms of Negoro lacquer, the functional, undecorated ware made by coating red lacquer over black, originally for the use of monks at the Negoro Temple in Kishu, present-day Wakayama Prefecture. Unlike a number of Negoro forms that also had secular use, this water basin had a specific religious function in a Buddhist ceremony of expiation known as fusatsu-e, held on the fifteenth day of the month, in which the monks washed their hands as part of their ritual self-purification.
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