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Katachi: Classical Japanese Design Paperback – August 1, 1999


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books; 1ST edition (August 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811825477
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811825474
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #867,803 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

There is no English equivalent to the word katachi, which roughly translates to mean the essence of Japanese design. It is a term that expresses the aesthetic beauty, the refined minimal form, the time-tested functionality, and the fine workmanship of traditional Japanese crafts that have endured for centuries. Author Takeji Iwamiya (1920-1989), one of Japan's foremost photographers and a professor at the Osaka University of Arts, spent a lifetime collecting examples of katachi. Many years in the making, his masterwork Katachi: The Essence of Japanese Design is a thoughtfully rendered tribute to the objects that epitomize the Japanese design aesthetic, as well as a celebration of the culture in which they were produced. At 432 pages with 600 black-and-white photographic reproductions, this contemplative volume offers a thorough sampling of objects organized around materials that have played an important role in Japanese life for centuries: paper, wood, bamboo, fiber, clay, metal, and stone. The collection ranges from simple carved boxwood combs to the elaborate Edo-period hairstyles they were used to create; from endearing cherubic palace dolls to an ominous array of kitchen knives; from austere arrangements of garden stepping-stones to exquisitely detailed floral sugar confections. A thought-provoking essay by Mutsuo Takahashi entitled "Through the Mirror of Japan" precedes the images, which are presented in successive full-page spreads and identified in brief endnotes. This elegant softcover book will appeal to designers, artists, connoisseurs of Japanese art and culture, and many others. --A.C. Smith

Review


Reviews from: CONDÉ NAST HOUSE & GARDEN


CHICAGO TRIBUNE

Takeji Iwamiya's stunning black-and-white images of objects as intricate as a carved gate and as humble as a comb convey the essence of katachi—the traditional Japanese sense of form.

"Katachi," loosely translated as a sense of form, was photographer Iwamiya's masterwork, 50 years in the making. His photographs showcase geometric stone temple carvings to humble objects such as bamboo baskets, tea whisks, lacquerware, paper cutouts, sandals, rakes, teapots, dishes and more. Whatever the object, its execution has been pursued with excellence in workmanship and an astringency of taste. Iwamiya's camera records not only their pared-to-the-bones forms but captures the intangible qualities of the Japanese aesthetic, which has the power to transform the observer's perceptions.

 


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Megan M Murdock on April 11, 2000
Format: Paperback
This beautifully put together piece shows me time and again that in graphic design, less is usually "more." The book illustrates through timeless Japanese design that one well-placed form is more powerful than 10 ill-placed ones. Katachi will teach you as a designer to give more by giving less. It's a must have for anyone looking to broaden their skill-set.
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12 of 18 people found the following review helpful By T. Reinhardt on August 18, 2000
Format: Paperback
THIS IS A VISUALLY LOVELY BOOK BUT I WOULD HAVE ENJOYED SOME ACOMPANING TEXT. HAD I READ THE EDITORIAL REVIEWS CLOSER I MIGHT HAVE NOTED THAT THE NATURE OF THE BOOK WAS PICTORIAL...HOWEVER...OVERALL, I ENJOY THE BOOK (ONCE I GOT USED TO THE FORMAT) AND CHOSE NOT TO RETURN IT. IN THE FUTURE I WILL READ REVIEWS CLOSER THO. MY VIEWS OF JAPANESE DESIGN ,IS, AS ALWAYS, AWE. THE SIMPLICITY OF THESE DESIGNS HIGHLIGHTS THE FACT THAT ELEGANCE COMES WITH RESTRAINT IN DECORATION.
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By cyndia on October 7, 2014
Format: Paperback
Gah, I could just look at these pics all day ... Just beautiful graphic images. No words to distract your imagination .
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By Inako on November 1, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Simply Beautiful Book with the Most Beautiful Objects
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