This lavishly illustrated book explores an aesthetic and cultural approach to the appreciation of traditional Japanese design. A superb selection of utilitarian objects, including basketry, ceramics, lacquer, metalwork, and textiles, are presented in five areas of aesthetic taste that describe the essence of Japanese design: Artless Simplicity (Soboku); Zen Austerity (Wabi); Gorgeous Splendor (Karei); and Edo Chic (Iki). An introductory section, Ancient Times (Kodai no bi), presents fantastic archaeological objects that inspired later design. Celebrating the forms, textures, and graphic imagery that have defined traditional Japanese design, this book should have wide appeal.
The Five Tastes explored here evolved from the daily life and culture of Japan's dominant social classes of the fifteenth through nineteenth century: the rural farmers, the ruling military elite, and the city merchants. Codified by influential Japanese cultural critics in the twentieth century, these Five Tastes offer a fresh approach to and appreciation of Japan's unique design culture.
Traditional Japanese Design: Five Tastes accompanies an exhibition presented at Japan Society Gallery, New York in the fall of 2001.
Japan Society Gallery was established by Japan Society in 1971, when the Society moved to its New York building designed by the preeminent architect Junzô Yoshimura. The Gallery works with leading museums in Japan, the United States and Europe to present exhibitions that contribute to the scholarship, connoisseurship, and general appreciation of traditional and modern Japanese and East Asian art and culture.