The magatama is an ancient Japanese Shinto ornament. Some believe that it represents half of the Taoist Yin-Yang symbol. The symbol is most often seen in the form of polished stone beads. Some modern Japanese artists make magatama beads from glass.
In 1983 I was invited to teach at the just-opened Tokyo Glass Art Institute. One of my youngest students, Yuki Uchimura became an accomplished glass artist and years later she gave my daughter a cast glass magatama bead.
In 2009 Yuki (now professor Uchimura) and her colleague Hiroshi Yamano invited me to teach at Osaka University of Art and with the help of their students, I made the “bamboo pencil box” element using a technique called “hot mold blowing”. This element had been in my studio for three years when I decided to combine it with my own cast magatama-like form and to support them atop a bamboo post. The result reminded me of the kind of fan used to cool a potentate as they were transported in a sedan chair on a warm day.