Wood and urushi lacquer
10.5 x 51 x 43 cm
Edo period, 19th century
Awasebako with hakogaki
Incense tray lotus leaf-shape
“Wooden lotus leaf. I don’t know what kind of wood is used for this objet but it seems totally natural. The form is quite strange but its outline is not carved (sic!). Mr. Nakayama (?) of Nara wanted to obtain this piece and asked Mr. Imamura (?). The trace of carving of the back is well done and its patina is fantastic more and more with age. He thought the trace of carving of the backside is too much well done like the old patina.”
Signed: Mizunotoi (=a year of the 60 Chinese sexagenarian cycle, 1923), late Autumn, Master Kan’un
Kōdō (香道), “the way of fragrance”, is the art of appreciating Japanese incense. Kōdō includes all aspects of the incense ceremony, from the tools (kōdōgu), to activities such the incense-comparing games kumikō and genjikō. Kōdō is one of the three classical Japanese arts of refinement, along with kadō for flower arrangement, and chadō for the tea ceremony.
During a kōdō ceremony, participants “listen” to fragrances exhaled by scented woods burned according to rules codified towards the end of the 14th century.