Dear Jack,

A friend asked me to photograph his recently obtained bronze Ogencho (Japanese two-part vase for flower arranging). I thought you might like to see the results. The surface and its patination are outstanding.


Click on picture for a larger view.

The plum (actually Japanese flowering apricot, Prunus Mume), symbol of longevity, expresses many virtues such as innocence, nobleness, and courage. It is used on felicitous occasions particularly during the New Year festivities.

The arrangement of early plum blossoms illustrates the natural shin and soe lines to be found in a single branch. It also shows the natural beauty of line of a branch free of foliage.

The shin and soe consist of one branch of material. The shin is approximately three times the height of the container, the soe two-thirds the length of the shin. The tai is approximately one-third the length of the shin.

The arrangement is held in place by a forked twig, and stands in a bronze container known as an ogencho, which resembles the small round wooden table termed maru-sambd used for altar offerings. It is engraved with the characters "ogencho Ikenobo" and was introduced by the Ikenobo master Senmyo XLI. Etiquette requires that, when the container is used for an arrangement, the engraved portion be turned away from the viewer. The style of arrangement is gvo or semi-cursive.

Click on picture for a larger view.

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