Close-up of the slides from Lee’s Greene and Greene inspired dining table, a copy of the Robinson House table, now housed in Huntington Museum in Altadena, Ca. “Not at all sure I could pull it off,” Lee wrote, “and without plans, I just dove in and it worked. The design for the slides of this table, by Charles Greene, is just so awesome that I had no real choice- I had to give it a try.”
Top hanging is portion of an obi, the wide sash used as a belt with a lady’s kimono. Below is a tray given to us by our friend Matsunaga-san of Tokyo, and hung by a needlework hanger done by my wife Lone.
Japanese Tansu from Hana Antiques in Berkeley, with Clam gathering basket, Washington State, and Tule reed basket from northeastern California. Actor Japanese woodblock print behind. Kabuki actors in Japan inspired fan clubs that commissioned prints of their favorites.
This is a tsuba, or Japanese sword guard, and is made to fit at the top of the scabbard. While most everyone is familiar with the amazing craftsmanship associated with Japanese swords, starting with the making of the world’s finest steel that reconciles competing needs of sharpness with toughness, less recognized are the crafts associated with the samurai tradition.
Little wonders in themselves, tsubas come in a variety of styles and materials. I have but two of them, both made of cast iron. On either side of the opening for the sword are separate smaller openings for smaller knives. Charles Greene collected tsubas and they may be seen at the Gamble House in Pasadena
A wooden sculpture of Daikoku, one of the seven Japanese gods of good fortune. He is commonly shown in sculptures, drawings, and paintings with his son Ebisu. This one shows the typical objects that identify him— the mallet in the right-hand, a sack of various treasures in his left hand, and he is usually standing on money, i.e. rice. I have several images of him in my collection, but the favorite for me shows a depth of self-satisfaction that we all know is dangerous. So, don’t fall in love with him!
One corner of the dining room, with a hollowed out burl containing sand and a cast iron kettle. In other words, a hibachi. The rug is from the Shirvan region of the Caucasus, with a Persian garden design.