"A writer uses words to create magic," Higashi once said. "I use bamboo."
Born in Kyoto and apprenticing to Kaneko Chikkosai in 1931, the artist's
speciality is basket making with an architectural flavor. His work
incorporates susudake, or smoked bamboo from the rafters of farm houses over 150 years old, non-plaited techniques, and other inventions of his own.
Prolifically honored, with entrance into Nitten 28 times and full
membership in the Japan Craft Arts Association in 1994, Higashi won the
Prince Takamatsu Commemorative Prize in 1995 and had numerous solo
exhibitions throughout Japan. In 2002, Lloyd Cotsen and Robert Coffland
published a book on his life and artistic career.
When asked, at the age of 83, about his continuing commitment to bamboo, he noted that his vision of what he wanted to say in his art had grown stronger as he grew older.
"A great work is a combination of artistic beauty and technical excellence,
but a masterpiece adds another quality that is a reflection of you as a
person," he said. "My goal as an artist is to leave such pieces when I
leave this world."
Click here to send this photo to a friend as a postcard.