19 April 2011

Pretty books: Part I

After having school on Sunday, I took Monday morning off with the plan to go cycling. But when morning came I was still sleepily contemplating this prospect when a 0% kidding 100% thunder, lightning and rain weather system rolled in. So turns out my bed had been the best place to stay.

So in lieu of more pictures of blossoms, all of which surely came crashing down in the rain of the last two days, here is something else I prepared recently. It's some of my favourite books that I have bought while in Japan. And this selection is also decidedly Japanese.

First is Commercial Design of Japan: From the Taishō to the Shōwa Era 日本の商業デザイン —大正・昭和のエポック—, published by Seigensha. This small format book features beautiful colour reproductions of packaging, logo and other commercial design from 1912 to 1989.

Next is Nihon no Kamon 日本の家紋, also published by Seigensha. This book is the same small format and features Japanese family crests. Different designs are organised by themes which can be looked up in the front of the book. I was intrigued by these symbols before, but my eyes are now even more fixed on the traditional houses that carry them. The way that kanji characters are abstracted to fit into a block format is also fascinating.

The third book is in the same format and, yes, also published by Seigensha. They must just really get me, because I bought all three on separate occasions, without realising that they are related until much later. Japanese Sarasa 新版—和更紗 features new Japanese calico prints. There is a wide range of motifs, from abstract patterns, to botanical designs, to human figures.

The last book, Sode Kagami: Meisen Kimono Collection ソデカガミ—銘仙着物コレクション, I bought after an eikaiwa student showed it to me and told me about this kind of kimono. The title translates as Sleeve Mirror, and meisen is a kind of silk. From what I recall, she said this book specifically features a more casual kind of kimono. I really like the juxtapositions of and the settings for some of the photographs, especially the one at the greengrocer's.

So that's the four books for today. All really inspiring, but also super affordable!

Note to self: Work on book photography :P
Oh, and P.S. If you're into really interesting art from beautiful old books I recommend 50 Watts. A lot!

No comments:

Post a Comment