In this visually sumptuous volume, Michael Dunn, a resident in Japan for 35 years, has gathered ample evidence of the beauty of objects in this country where time and care are taken to create exquisite craftsmanship. The bounties of nature in Japan provide an abundance of raw materials for the artisan from animals (silk, ivory, tortoise shell); vegetables (wood, bamboo, lacquer) and earth (ceramics, porcelain, metals). The author explores seven qualities in Zen that color all these traditional arts — symmetry, simplicity, dryness, naturalness, reserve, non-attachment and tranquility.
Over 300 color photographs showcase the balance, artfulness and unity with nature in the kimono, the garden, furniture, masks, paper-making, pottery, ceramics, and metalwork. Throughout the book, Dunn takes special care to constantly assess what beauty means to the Japanese. Here is one of his conclusions: "The beauty of an object lies in not just what can be seen, but also what is suggested — a nexus to other senses, other emotions, other layers of meaning that so intensify the experience." Above all, Dunn conveys in word and image his deep love for the inspired design of Japan's traditional arts.”