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The Colors of Japan: Background, Characteristics and Creation [Hardcover]

By Sadao Hibi, Kunio Fukuda & John Bester (Translator)
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Item description for The Colors of Japan: Background, Characteristics and Creation by Sadao Hibi, Kunio Fukuda & John Bester...

The Colors of Japan is a visually stunning look into the unique use of color in Japanese culture from prehistoric times to the present day. That the Japanese should possess their own sense of color is not surprising, for like almost every other aspect of human life, color perception varies from culture to culture.
The first and most fundamental reason for this variation can be attributed to geography. People living in arid lands will obviously perceive green in a different way from people surrounded by lush forests, as is the case in Japan. Geography will also dictate the materials that can be used to create the pigments and dyes to color objects.
Once geography has set the stage, other factors come into play, such as the direction in which a particular culture evolves. For instance, certain colors may be restricted to certain classes, as happened in the classical period of Japanese history.
A third factor is external cultural influence, in which the color perceptions of one culture are adopted by another as part of the ebb and flow of history. In the case of Japan, the first sources of such influence were Korea and China.
The Colors of Japan presents a crystalline overview of these three factors by means of discerning writing and stunning photographs. The text covers the four basic colors, the relationship of Japanese color perception to natural phenomena, the development of hierarchies of colors, the aesthetic of mixed colors, and the particular culture of color developed by townspeople in the seventeenth through the nineteenth centuries.
The photographs range over a variety of objects, from the refined to the plebeian. There are lacquerware, various kimonos, combs, surcoats, picture scrolls, ceramics, sword mountings, shrine gates, paintings, woodblock prints, tea houses, a castle, paper stencils, fans, sculpture, umbrellas, screens, and human figures. Each is not only an illustration of a particular color as used in Japanese culture, but also a beautiful object in its own right. Nature, an all-important player in the nurturing of color perception, is not forgotten. The book includes lovely photographs of autumn foliage, a horseradish field, a pebbly stream in a temple garden, a tea house pathway, rows of tea bushes, and, last but not least, a tiny green frog.
As an approach to a different way of viewing color, as an introduction to the arts and crafts of Japan, or as a satisfying reading experience, The Colors of Japan is a book that anyone who possesses a aesthetic outlook on life will not want to miss.
The book includes full-color photos of the following:
Torii gates at Fushimi Inari Shrine, negoro trays, negoro sake keg, lacquered wood combs, textile designs and motifs, jimbaori (surcoat worn over armor), furisode kimono, Nachi Fire Festival, autumn foliage at Muroji Temple, Ban Dainagon picture scrolls, various forms of Imari ware, sword mountings, suit of armor, noren curtains, katabira kimono, paintings, Kyoto hills, various forms of Nabeshima ware, aizuri and other ukiyo-e, haniwa funeral sculpture, Jomon vase, tea-scoop and case, Joan Tea House, fireman's hanten, paper stencils, carving on gate of Toshogu Shrine, horseradish field, pebble stream at Shinnyo-in Temple, Fushin-an Tea House, ukiyo-e by Katsukawa Shunsho, ukiyo-e by Utagawa Kunisada using berorin, Iga vase, sanda tiered celadon boxes, Oribe mukozuke (side dishes), a green frog (aogaeru), Japanese zelkova bonsai, pair of six-fold screens, green tea plantations, tea in a black bowl, fans, Jizo statue at Meigetsu-in Temple, ikat kimono, uchikake kimono, Konkomyo Saisho-o Sutra, choken Noh costume, silk wrapping cloth, murasaki-e ukiyo-e by Chobunsai Eishi, sacred rope at Oyamazumi Shrine, annual rites at Hibara Shrine, snake-eye (janome) umbrella, dance fans, Kabuki actor Bando Tamasaburo, screen (Pine Trees) by Hasegawa Tohaku, Mino tea bowl, Raku tea bowl ("Ayame"), Himeji Castle, fifth-century gold seal, sobatsugi Noh robe with shokko motif, kariginu kimono, tachi sword mounting, gilded wood statue of Buddha Amida, Edo cosmetic set with tomoe crest, rakuchu-rakugai screen by Kano Eitoku, pair of two-fold screens (Summer and Autumn Grasses) by Sakai Hoitsu, dry lacquer flower vase, and ceramic box with gold and silver on black ground.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   102
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1" Width: 9.5" Height: 10.25"
Weight:   2.05 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Apr 24, 2001
Publisher   Kodansha International
ISBN  477002536X  
ISBN13  9784770025364  

Availability  0 units.

More About Sadao Hibi, Kunio Fukuda & John Bester

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Kiyoshi Seike (1918-2005) was one of the most original and thoughtful residential designers in Japan, creating countless private residential and large-scale commercial and public works.
Masanobu Kudo (1924-1996) was an expert on flowers, trees, and plants, who contributed to numerous publications on flower arranging and Japanese gardens. He edited Sakutei no Jiten (Encyclopedia of Garden Making) with Kiyoshi Seike.
David H. Engel is a prominent American landscape architect and site planner.
Renowned photographer Sadao Hibi specializes in traditional Japanese architecture and gardens.

Sadao Hibi was born in 1947.

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Product Categories

1Books > Special Features > New & Used Textbooks > Humanities > Art & Music > Studio Art > Design
2Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Art > Art History > Regional > Asian
3Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Graphic Design > Design > General
4Books > Subjects > History > Asia > Japan

Reviews - What do customers think about The Colors of Japan: Background, Characteristics and Creation?

From the Tea Ceremony to the Samurais.  Nov 6, 2005
A book of gorgeous pictures,however very little writing.It has the most popular colors used in Japanese traditional pottery,lacquer,textiles and many others.These colors are all used today, in every day life.
Handsome void  Aug 15, 2002
Gorgeous appearance, little content. Chapters organized by single color. I had hoped this book would offer some insight into the Japanese use of combined colors, which is so distinctive. Strictly for the coffee table, not a reference book.
stunning photographs joined by valuable text  Dec 17, 2001
Both at home and abroad, Sadao Hibi is known as one of Japan's foremost photographers, and his color studies of the details of Japanese artifacts, architecture, and gardens have appeared in numerous books. These books are invariably stunning and are usually bought solely for the strength of their visual appeal alone.

Now comes "The Colors of Japan," which not only meets the photographic and design standards of Hibi's previous books but also includes text provided by a distinguished Japanese scholar. That scholar is Kunio Fukuda, a professor of color theory at a Japanese college of art and design, and it is his writing--not previously accessible in English--that makes this book especially valuable. For readers familiar with Japan and its culture, Fukuda's text brings into focus what they have already observed about the Japanese use of color. Even more important, it provides technical information about the dyes and pigments available to the Japanese over the centuries, material not easily found in general-audience art books.


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