Pipe holder in the form of Ashinaga and crab-shaped tobacco pouchArtist(s)JapaneseArtist NationalityJapanese (culture or style)Object Creation Datecirca 1810-1849Medium & Supportbone and stag antlerDimensions
8 1/4 in. x 1 3/16 in. x 1 1/4 in. ( 20.9 cm x 3 cm x 3.1 cm )Credit LineGift of the William T. and Dora G. Hunter CollectionLabel copy
Three pieces are combined here to make a fashion accessory for a Japanese man of the mid- to late 19th century. The pipe holder (in Japanese, kiseruzutsu), is in the form of Ashinaga, or “Long Legs” a mythological creature associated with water and fishing. No signature has been deciphered on the carved Ashinaga figure, but stylistically it may be attributed to the studio of Katsushika Hokusai ((1760–1849). Hokusai published at least one volume designs for tobacco paraphernalia, entitled Imayo kushi kiseru hinagata (Patterns for modern combs and pipes; issued in 1823). The accompanying tobacco container (tonkotsu) takes the shape of a crab with dragon claws, and it does bear a signature that appears to read "Hokusai" on the reverse. However, there are no known examples of carvings by any artist named Hokusai, so the attribution is still under research. Finally, the toggle on the cord connecting the two is called an ojime. It is in the shape of a bell or tablet, decorated with a snail, and signed "Ikkoku."
Maribeth Graybill, Senior Curator of Asian Art, September 2004Primary Object Classification Decorative Arts Primary Object Typepipe holderCollection AreaAsianRights
If you are interested in using an image for a publication, please visit http://umma.umich.edu/request-image
for more information and to fill out the online Image Rights and Reproductions Request Form.
antlers (animal components)
pipes (smoking equipment)