Splitting the Air / Fendre L’Air

Art of Bamboo in Japan



ISBN: 9782370741066 Category:


Japanese bamboo baskets have a very long history. Until the 16th century, they were primarily utilitarian and rustic items. Those with an aesthetic value were imported from China. Mirror of the Confucian values, they displayed perfectly symmetrical shapes and a surprisingly regular weaving. The turning point came from the codification of the tea ceremony in the 16th century. Due to their extreme refinement, the Japanese bamboo vases ( hanakago ), containing floral arrangements (ikebana) are elevated to the rank of works of art.

The masters of the golden era, founders of this art, constituted in dynasties, established a special relationship between the artist and the patron. But one artist will be particularly honored, Iizuka Rokansai (1890-1958), called the “Picasso of the basket” with his forty pieces. The post-war period is crucial in the diffusion of this art across the world, especially in the USA, in private collections or museums. This resulted in the use of new shapes by contemporary artists, but also in attempts at blending bamboo with new materials.

The main question is then about the artistic status of contemporary or modern artists whose work requires great technical and artisanal skills. Inspired by classical formalism, which vocabulary was set up thoroughly by Iizuka Rokansai, the baskets of young contemporary artists are now becoming sculptures. Devoid of any function, they open up a unique artistic field.

Additional information

Weight 1494 g
Dimensions 21.1 x 32 cm
Publisher name Editions Skira Paris
Publication date 1 April 2019
Number of pages 304
Format Paperback / softback
Contributors Edited by Stéphane Martin
Dimensions 21.1 x 32 cm
Weight 1494 g
Stéphane Martin - president of the Musée du quai Branly-Jacques Chirac, co-curator of the exhibition. Philippe Boudin - Mingei Arts Gallery, co-curator of the exhibition. Masanori Moroyama - National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo. Andreas Marks - director of the Clark Center for Japanese Art. Shinya Maezaki - professor at Kyoto Women's University. Satomi Suzuki - curator at Tochigi Prefectural Museum of Fine Arts. Maiko Takenobu - Mingei Arts Gallery.