Japanese Design: Art, Aesthetics and Culture

The evolution, concepts and characteristics of Japanese design and aesthetics is traced in this book.

Japanese design and aesthetics has had a significant impact on the global design history. And this deeply insightful book by Patricia J Graham provides a comprehensive overview of the evolution, concepts, and characteristics of Japanese aesthetics. The book is divided into three parts; the first part explores key aesthetic concepts such as Shibui, Katusura, WabiSabi and Iki… their meaning, origin and relevance. The second describes the core characteristics/parameters of Japanese culture such as the importance of fine craftsmanship, ideas of miniaturization, connection between literature and visual arts, amongst others aspects. The third provides glimpses of the promoters of aesthetics culture if Japan — artists, industrial designers, art historians, art critics, journalists and philosophers.

In describing concepts of aesthetics such as Wabisabi, Graham’s familiarity and ease of writing flourishes, as he makes these complex notions of beauty (such as subtle, rustic or sophisticated), easy to assimilate. The text is supplemented by illustrations and photographs that transcend different realms from pottery, fashion, accessories, to architecture and literature.

The impact of religion, Shintoism and Buddhism, on visual arts is also examined. Parameters that have guided the aesthetics — fashion consciousness, trends and products from other cultures. Graham writes “Japanese artists and designers have long been adept at modifying imported products for their own uses, they thereby, have innovated on cutting edge technologies for ease of production, visual appearance or structure.” This innovation has been the essence of the success of the country in design and technology related markets, to date. A strong interconnectedness between arts and literature, philosophy is evident in Japanese culture.

The book also describes the influence of Japanese aesthetics on some of the best designers and artists in the western world such as German architect Bruno Taut, architect Frank Lloyd Wright and 26 other pioneers. This is a well-researched book that would make a good introductory guide for college students or others interested in Japanese Design. The bibliography and end notes are a rich source for further reading.


Japanese Design: Art, Aesthetics and Culture
Author Patricia J Graham
Publisher Tuttle Publishing, Singapore
ISBN 978-4-8053-1250-6
Pages 160
Availability Amazon India
Price Rs. 1,291+ Rs. 100 (delivery charges)

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