Japanese Lacquer Tray | Murakami Tetsudo

Sale price$280.00

Dimensions: 15-1/2”l x 12-0”w x 3/4”h

Attributed to Murakami Tetsudo, (1868–1912); this creative piece of lacquerware was specifically made for use during the tea ceremony. It illustrates a striking floral and curling lotus leaf motif with red and black lacquer in the style of Kamakura-bori, and represents an incense tray of three-dimensional beauty. The craftsman employed what is known as Takamakie (high relief):the design is made with multiple lacquer layers, creating a sculptural effect and polished to the desired effect.

The sides of the back are curved with a flat, recessed center in black lacquer. There is a small paper label on the back with identification in Japanese and executed in old kanji which we have not been able to translate. At purchase, we were told that the piece was not meant for export. Thus it is unsigned. As retired academics and dealers of Japanese Folk Art, we were brought to Tokyo by a colleague and Professor from Bunka Gakuen University in Tokyo, where we purchased this Incense tray from an antique dealer while on a visit to the Takayama, a region in 1989. In thirty years of business, we have only seen two other trays at auction attributed to this artisan. 

Antique Condition. In Excellent condition commensurate with age. The exceptional quality of carving with no scratches, flake-offs, cracks, missing carved elements, or imperfections. Slightly warpage that does not affect use, appreciation, or display. 

NOTE: Born in Komatsu City, Ishikawa Prefecture, Murakami Tetsudō is best known for elaborate, detailed sculptures and festival floats depicting mythological subjects that are still preserved in the locality. He traveled to the United States in 1893 to exhibit a sculpture of the medieval hero Nitta Yoshisada at the Chicago World's Columbian Exhibition and on return, he acquired a position at the Toyama Prefectural Craft School in Takaoka later becoming its principal.