This Japanese vintage Kamakurabori 鎌倉彫 kogo or incense case was made by an artist in Japan. A kogo a small lidded box used for holding incense and historically most often for the tea ceremony, at the temple, and for the worship areas set up in the home. Kogo can make great gifts and I know many folks who collect them, and would make a great starter gift for a collection, even a great box for a ring as a gift although of course, it will fit several. We have them all over our house in many different motifs from many different makers, materials, and colors. This kogo is especially fine. It is a Kamakurabori kogo.
Kamakurabori refers to a specific method resultant in a special style of carving and lacquerware wood from japan. A maple leaf or 'Kaede no ha' is carved. That is the part specific to kamakura, the rest of very thickly hand lacquered. The reddish brown lacquer is used on the outside and black on the inside as os often the case on lacquered wood boxes. And of course, it is hand carved by a Kamakurabori specialist. It was made about 30 years ago. On the box or bako is written '鎌倉彫' on the right, and the closest I can come up with for the center is 'incense case' instead of kogo or box. It is good that it has a bako for gift giving on storage when wanted, The kogo is in excellent condition, no cracks, chips, or external or internal injuries.
SIZE: Diameter 2.2 inches or 5.5 cm, Height 1.0 inches or 2.5 cm
Kamakura Lacquer, Kamakura Bori 鎌倉彫
Kamakura-bori 鎌倉彫? is a form of lacquerware from Kamakura, Japan. It is made by carving patterns in wood, then lacquering it with layers of color. It is then polished. Kamakura Lacquer is a highly developed type of wood carving. It is most commonly applied to produce small items such as trays, plates, coasters, hand mirrors or boxes. a pattern carved in wood cut from the Katsura tree or Japanese Judas, or the In many cases, Japanese plants and flowers are featured in the patterns. This is the first kogo I think I have seen. Its origin is considered to be the carved lacquerware of ‘Tsuishu red lacquer’ and ‘Tsuikoku black lacquer’ that came from China along with Zen Buddhism in the Kamakura period.
The genre is said to date to the Kamakura period, when Kōun 康運? or, according to another theory, Kōen 康円?, a busshi a sculptor specializing in Buddhist images, began carving racial Buddhist implements in the manner that Chin Na-kei or Chin Wa-kei had introduced from the Song Dynasty in China.
Kamakura-Bori was typically produced for the ruling class of feudal Japan, and often depicts religious/political figures. Kamakura-Bori was for all people who owned a home: almost all home-owners had some form of Kamakura-Bori crafts.
references: Wiki and Japan National Tourism 'Japan the Official Guide'
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