Yoshikyo - 5566
The okimono, composed by several ivory pieces, represents a sitting man who practices the art of ikebana ("living flowers"; 生け花). He is about to collect a bunch of flowers in a bundle of reeds and probably will put this flower arrangement in the vase placed on a low two-drawer dresser. At his feet a box contains the working tools; at his obi is hanging, through a netsuke, a tobacco pouch (tabako-ire, 煙草入) with its pipe (kiseru, 煙管) placed inside a case (kiseruzutsu, 煙管筒). At the base of the composition, on a red lacquer plaque the signature Yoshikiyo (美清) is carved.
There is no specific information about Yoshikyo, but the style of his composition and the use of the red lacquer plaque are very similar to those used by the Tokyo Sculptors' Society (Tokyo Choko-Kai; 東京彫会), active since the 1880s, whose members were specialised in the production of intricated and realistic okimono.