A Japanese vintage lacquerware dish or bowl is made by the famous Zohiko Nishimura of Kyoto. In Japan, this is a 'kashiki' or dish made for sweets for the tea ceremony, as Kyoto ware or -yaki is famous for it' tea ceremony items and which dates back to the oldest history of Japan.
The Zohiko Nishimura family is very famous for its fine lacquerware since the 1600's. This piece was made under the direction of Nishimura Hikobei VIII of 1886-1965, as far as I can tell from the history and age as quoted by the dealer in Japan. See more below about the history.
According to a post on Google arts as posted by
Zohiko Nishimura VIII, quote: 'Perhaps the most prominent characteristic of Kyoto lacquerware is that it is crafted from ultra-thin wood. Artisans sand down the wood down to the greatest extent possible, rendering it paper-thin. This wood core is the secret behind the slim elegance of Kyoto lacquers, despite multiple applications of the base coats, mid-coats, and outer coats of lacquer. In spite of such remarkably thin wood substrates, Kyoto lacquers are extremely durable.' Layers of lacquer end up totally about 20. Then, they are finely decorated by an artist specializing in the decoration of lacquerware.
This bowl comes with the original box and information booklet about Zohiko. It is in most excellent condition, please see the pictures. The age is noted to be of the latest part of the Showa period of 1926-1989.
Size: Diameter 7.9 inches or 20 cm, Height 2.4 inches or 6 cm. Weight bowl 360 grams box 350 grams total 1 lb. 9 oz.
The Zohiko lineage of lacquer artists has worked in Kyoto from 1719 to the present. Nishimura Zofuku was the elder brother of the 6th generation family head and became Zohiko VII on his brother’s death, running the family business until his younger brother’s son came of age in 1910. At that point Zohiko VII gave up the family title in favor of his nephew, who became Zohiko VIII, and Zohiko VII adopted the art name Zofuku to mark his independence. I have not found an update to a Zohiko IX just yet.
-from 'Traditional Kyoto' website on shopping
The following is quoted directly from the Zohiko website, please see the link to their site under our 'Favorites' links on our homepage:
Kyoto-style Lacquerware Which Zohiko Presents Footsteps From the 1st Year of Kanbun 1661
Zoge-ya, the predecessor of Zohiko, started its operation to sell specialty tools and artistic lacquer goods for daily use in the 1st year of Kanbun -1661-. Hikobei III was a craftsman who excelled at the lacquerware technique and was granted the title ‘Master of Maki-e’ by the Emperor. In the last stage of his life, he created a Maki-e panel, ‘Fugen Bodhisattva on a white elephant’. The people of Kyoto were so charmed by the beauty of this image that they named it the ‘Zohiko panel,’ with ‘Zo’ being the first part of ‘Zoge-ya’ and ‘Hiko’ being the first part of Hikobei’s first name. Since then, we have been developing and gaining a trusted reputation under the store name ‘Zohiko’.
Hikobei IV was appointed the position of purveyor to Sento Imperial Palace -the imperial palace of an abdicated emperor-. Hikobei VI was an artist of refined taste and created a number of art works such as tools for tea ceremonies. Hikobei VIII exported lacquerware and was known as a pioneer of lacquerware trading. He also established a school of Maki-e and worked actively on many projects. The present owner continues his endeavors. Our business is not limited to luxury Maki-e articles. We handle a wide variety of articles, such as plate ware for daily use and interior goods. At the same time, we are actively collaborating with overseas companies and creators to open up new opportunities. In this way, we continue the legacy to spread the individual charm of Kyoto-style lacquerware that cannot be conveyed easily.
Nishimura Hikobei VIII, Kyoto lacquer ware
Hikobei VIII, 1886~1965, delved heavily into lacquerware technology, creating a vast array of well-known works from the end of the Meiji period through the early Showa period. His works were featured in world expositions as well as in national industrial fairs, winning prizes along the way. Zohiko grew dramatically with the patronage of the Imperial Household Ministry as well as that of the Mitsui and Sumitomo families, amongst others. In 1926, Zohiko established the Kyoto Maki-e Art School to train successors.