Crafting Beauty in Modern Japan - Nicole Rousmaniere and Inspired Shapes - Ori Koyama

I bought these two lovely coffee-table books at the British Museum's 'Crafting Beauty in Modern Japan' exhibition last Summer. I found said exhibition absolutely stunning. Japan has a strong investment in its craft movements, and combined with a wonderful sense of aesthetics, they've produced the most gorgeous ceramics, textiles, lacquer-work and so on. That kind of thing might sound dull, but it's just awe-inspiring. It's a fantastic mixture of the modern and the traditional.

So, one year later I decided to look back through these books, to remind me of the exhibition.

Both books are pretty straightforward picture books. (There are biographical detail of the contributors, but that's not exactly sensible reading material). Rousmaniere's is pretty much the exhibition catalogue, so it brings back plenty of memories. The selection is pretty conservative, since the official Japanese institutions had plenty of input into the exhibition, and it thus emphasised the traditional alongside the innovative. Koyama's book focuses more on the contemporary, and has more in the way of supporting text (I suppose it doesn't assume you've been to the exhibition).

The books are quite complementary, and if you feel the need to have books of pictures of beautiful things, both are recommended.

Posted 2008-10-11.