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The Artistic Heart of Japan
From the simple to the sublime...
Art and craft are melded with heart in popular Japanese culture. Our visit was limited to the rural areas of the countryside, and we saw a wide range of art and craftsmanship -- the physical side of the artistic heart. The materials that stood out for their mastery in artistic expression were paper, wood and clay. And these materials were coupled with natural forms -- boulders, water, and wildlife.
cities have a designated official bird, flower and tree. They are included
on the welcome signs as one enters the central city. This pheasant-like
bird feeds on the many rice paddies in the area.
deeply etched glass doors to the Museum of Tools are good examples of the
sensitivity to nature that is part of everyday life and so much of the arts
in this rural area of West-Central Japan. Simplicity and diversity are both
honored in the flowing design.
Even the simplest and most humble of functional crafts
are touched with elegant design. These rain downspouts are formed to slow
the water, and offer a roof-to-ground sculptural waterfall during a downpour.
light posts were graced with touches of art...the revered crane was part
of the town's street lights.
covers are coveted design assignments and attract the artistic efforts of
famous artists. Each city creates a unique manhole cover design to grace
their streets. People do a lot of walking and biking in these cities, and
they are welcomed to the world of art through such everyday touches of grace
I was transfixed by the creative signage for businesses, streets and general
streetside communications. This sign features contrasting materials -- rough
boulder, cradling a highly polished and geometric element. Similar contrasting
signs made use of rough rocks, or carefully hewn wood.
Photos: Copyright 2005-2006 Carolyn Allen. All rights reserved. You are welcome to link to these articles.
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