Project Description

Unusual lacquered wood musozutsu pipecase by Mutsumine Senshi 

Carved through a top layer of roiro lacquer, guri-style, to reveal masks of Oni, Shishiguchi and Hannya

Extensively inscribed and signed. Circa 1870

22 cm


The main inscription is in fact a humorous poem in Chinese, apparently using a mixture of characters from different Chinese calligraphic traditions, and which has been translated thus:

Masks beyond masks, the long wig dancing/

A real Noh play is graceful yet slow/

What a disaster for those elegant viewers

We assume that the disaster is the slow pace of the performance. The inscription stumped our regular Japanese translator, and we are grateful to netsuke dealer Shengzhong Wang for the translation

Another similar pipecase by the artist was sold in the second Wrangham sale at Bonhams London, 10th May 2011, lot 148 (£3,120)