Torii Ippo


1930-2011, Aichi Prefecture, Japan

  • 1930

    Born, first son of bamboo craft artist Torii Hounsai

  • 1951

    Began his career as a bamboo artist

Exhibitions + Accolades
  • 1957                     

    Winner of Governor of Tokyo Award at Japan Flower and Tea Ware Craft Arts Exhibition

  • 1980                    

    Admitted to Japan Modern Craft Arts Exhibition for the first time (thereafter admitted 12 times)

  • 1981                      

    Admitted to Nitten (Japan Fine Arts Exhibition) for the first time (thereafter admitted 18 times)

  • 1982                     

    Winner of Chunichi Newspaper Award at Japanese Modern Craft Arts Exhibition, Tokai Division

  • 1987                     

    Became full member of Japan Modern Craft Arts Association
    Winner of Modern Craft Art Award at Japan Modern Craft Arts Exhibition

  • 1988                    

    Received Nishio City Cultural Merit Award

  • 1991                      

    Winner of Japan Modern Craft Art Member’s Award at Japan Modern Craft Art Exhibition

  • 1992

    Artists of the Tokai Area in Aichi Prefecture
    Participated in Japanese Contemporary Craft Arts Exhibition in Germany

  • 1993                     

    Judge at Japan Modern Craft Arts Exhibition

  • 1994                    

    Judge at Toyota Citizen’s Art Exhibition

  • 1996                    

    Judge at Japan Traditional Craft Arts Exhibition

  • 1997                     

    Judge at Seto Citizen’s Arts Exhibition
    Judge at Nishio Citizen’s Arts Exhibition

  • 2000

    Winner of Chunichi New Paper Award at Japan Modern Craft Arts Exhibition, Tokai Division
    Bamboo Fantasies, TAI Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
    Meet the Masters, TAI Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
    Exhibited at Tigerman Himmel Gallery, Chicago, IL

  • 2003

    Shared Passion: Sara & David Lieberman Collection of Contemporary Ceramics and Craft, Nelson Fine Arts Center, Tempe, AZ

  • 2004

    Exhibited at the Hand Workshop Art Center, Richmond, VA

  • 2005                    

    Weavers of Wonder, the Naples Museum, FL

  • 2006                   

    Power & Delicacy: Master Works of Japanese Bamboo Art, TAI Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
    Hin: The Quiet Beauty of Japanese Art, Grinnell College, IA and Chicago Cultural Center, IL
    Exhibited at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
    Recipient of the prestigious Tokusen Prize

  • 2008

    New Bamboo: Contemporary Japanese Masters, Japan Society, New York, NY

  • 2009                   

    Many Shapes of Bamboo III, Oita Prefecture Art Museum, Oita

  • 2011

    Beauty in All Things: Japanese Art and Design, Museum of Art and Design, New York, NY

  • 2013-2014 

    Fired Earth, Woven Bamboo, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA

  • 2016                     

    Discovering Japanese Bamboo Art: The Rusty & Ann Harrison Collection, Herron School of Art & Design, Indianapolis, IN

  • 2017                     

    Masterpieces of Japanese Bamboo Art, TAI Modern at Joan B. Mirviss Gallery, New York, NY

  • 2017

    Japanese Bamboo Art: The Abbey Collection, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY

Museum Collections
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
    Philadelphia Museum of Art, PA
    de Young Museum, San Francisco, CA
    Mint Museum of Craft & Design, Charlotte, NC
    Nishio City Museum
    Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
    Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens, Delray Beach, FL
    Eskenazi Museum of Art at Indiana University, Bloomington, IN


I found a catalog when I was rearranging my bookshelves the other day.  It is an exhibition catalog of treasures housed in Nara’s Shosoin Treasure House.  It was the second exhibition after the war of these national treasures being displayed in public at Ueno’s Tokyo National Museum in 1959. At that time, I was still novice to this craft for eight years, and wondering if I should continue.  During fall of that year, I went to Tokyo to see my business associates and visit museum exhibitions. By chance, I went to see this exhibit, and it made my career.

I browsed through this dear catalog, and my eyes stopped suddenly at the picture of bamboo basket. I can still visualize this work. It is a rather flat shaped morikago style basket. The ajiro (twill) plating bottom of the basket curves upward using Ayame weaving technique.  Its walls are made by gozame (mat plating) up to the rim; then, arrowroot vine wrap to tie each group of three bamboo strips to finish this work.  This was said to be used as a flower-serving basket.  According to the catalog, the basket was used for the first memorial service of Emperor Seimu in 757 AD.  There is no doubt that the basket, remaining in perfect shape for well over 1000 years, has mystic power to charm people who see it. Among all treasures of the Nara Period housed in the Shosoin for 1200 years, this basket remains my favorite. It determined my career as a bamboo artist. Looking at this catalog brought me back the memories of forty some years ago.

  • Torii Ippo

  • Masterpieces of Japanese Bamboo Art