Bamboo in Old Japan: Function and Aesthetics. Martin Brauen, Patrizia Jirka-Schmitz.

Bamboo in Old Japan: Function and Aesthetics

Arnoldsche Art Publishers. 8.5 x 12.6", 288 pp., 280 color illustrations, cloth, d.j., Stuttgart, 2003. Item #27843
ISBN: 3897901900

When you think of Japan, bamboo springs to mind. This exotic plant was Hans Sporry's ruling passion. A resident of Yokohama from 1890 until 1896, the Zurich silk merchant lavished time and resources on amassing an incomparable collection of objects made of, or referring to, bamboo.

As well as a wide variety of objects made of bamboo, the collection, which comprises about 1500 items, includes representations of bamboo on textiles, picture scrolls and in books, on ceramics, as decoration, sword accessories and utensils in daily use. Given to the Zurich Ethnographic Museum, the Spvrry Collection was  despite the superlative quality of the pieces  last on display a century ago!

Martin Brauen has achieved a scholarly rescue of this treasure from neglect. The most important and finest pieces are brilliantly reproduced, with modern photographs supplemented by Japanese photos dating from about 1890 and period drawings illustrating the uses to which these bamboo objects were put and how they were made.

This magnificent parade of utilitarian and art objects masterfully wrought of bamboo or representing bamboo conveys to western readers a profoundly memorable insight into the enigmatic and exciting world of old Japan.

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