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Book; Netsuke, Japanese Life and Legend in Miniature
Netsuke, Japanese Life and Legend in Miniature
Small enough to be enclosed in the palm of a hand, netsuke are miniature carvings of wood, bone and ivory, depicting the fascinating world of Japanese culture, history, myths and folklore. Traditionally netsuke were used as a toggle to prevent the cord of a pouch or inro medicine box from slipping through an obi belt.
Netsuke, Japanese Life and Legend in Miniature introduces the special carvings that bring to life many aspects of Japan. The book features exquisite colour photographs of over seventy masterfully sculpted netsuke, many cleverly placed in appropriate settings by the author / photographer to better display the work.
Each netsuke is not only an intricate carving, testament to its craftsperson is interesting to look at, entertaining and informative. Each one provides a glimpse of Japanese life and folklore. The well written explanations not only cover each of the carvings themselves, but adds interesting historical, cultural and on occasions, scientific information too.
The American author, Edwin C. Symes Jr.
is an award wining designer and photographer
with a deep interest in Japanese culture, including netsuke, bonsai and Kyudo, Japanese archery,
in which he holds dan ranking.
His superb book includes chapters dedicated to netsuke carving, collecting, even photographing, making this not just a book of interest to Japanophiles and collectors, but photographers too. The range of netsuke subjects run from animals and humans engaged in various activities from caring for bonsai to wrestling, bamboo shoots and mushrooms, ogres to creatures of the zodiac, insects to gods, masks to pinecones, seashells to sandals and everything in between.
This book is most pleasurable on account of both the rich illustrations and the amount of detail explained in the well written texts.
In the forward to this work, the words of His Imperial Highness, Prince Norihito of Takamado, sum up the book perfectly. “Mr. Symmes’ incredibly fresh approach… is an amazing and excellent, not to mention enjoyable one.” How right he is!
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