Shrine Cabinet in the shape of a Mountain Monk’s Backpack (Oi)
Iizuka Hōsai II Japanese
Not on view
A master of refined plaiting, Hōsai II often created bamboo works in the shape of objects traditionally made in other media. He designed this cabinet—meant to be used as a portable shrine—in the form of an oi, or backpack carried by traveling mountain monks or pilgrims. Oi were generally constructed from wooden boards, with two vertical supports at the sides; a slightly more elaborate version comprised a box-like container with four legs, and it is this type that Hōsai was imitating. He substituted tightly plaited bamboo for the basic structure and the central bottle-shaped wooden slat, which holds the backpack’s doors in place, and used different types of plaiting patterns to embellish the various sections. According to the inscription on its back leg, it was made in 1911 as a special order for a Mr. Kondo.
This artwork is meant to be viewed from right to left. Scroll left to view more.