I thought this shark hashioki was just a run-of-the-mill piece…
until I turned it over. The underside shows not only the shark’s skeleton, but also its’ jaw full of pointy teeth, ready to chomp on some unsuspecting prey.
I purchased this hashioki at the museum store of the Philadelphia Museum of Art in May 2014. The museum was one of my favorite haunts during my teenage years; it was the place that convinced me art museums could be awe-inspiring cathedrals of beauty. Growing up I was particularly entranced by the Japanese tea house inside the museum, and the tea house is still there. But on my last visit the museum looked like a worn and tired version of its former vibrant self, and the tiny collection of Japanese art on display had not been rotated since my previous visit a few years earlier.
But obviously one of the buyers for the museum store is a kindred spirit; I purchased two hashioki there in 2014, and have purchased others on previous visits.