⟨ Book ⟩

A Guidebook for Contemporary Japanese Folk Craft

Words / Elva Pang
Photography / Kimio Ng
Translation / Iris Heung

The Textbook of Folk Craft by Keiichi Kuno

看過了柳宗悅的《日本民藝之旅》,開始對身邊平凡又不起眼的日常用品改觀,民間工藝品的價值,不比擁有個性簽名、高高的掛在美術館裡的藝術品來得低廉;實在地於生活裡使用的工藝品擁有真誠、樸實的美,為生活中的美增添了深度。柳宗悅在書中記錄了1940年前後的日本手工藝,那麼現今的版本呢?幸好有日本民藝協會的久野惠一承繼柳宗悅的精神,發掘當今日本優秀的手工技藝,並集結成書,讓我們能繼續感受民間工藝品的美好。

After reading A Journey of Japanese Folk Art by Yanagi Soetsu, I started to develop a new perspective to look at everyday objects used in commonplace settings. The value of folk crafts is in no way lower than the signed art pieces hanging high on the museum walls. The crafts which are used constantly in daily life are by themselves an aesthetic experience by wholeheartedly fulfilling utilitarian needs. In the book, Seotsu archived Japanese crafts made around the year 1940. Moving on to our contemporary era, we have Keiichi Kuno from the Japanese Association of Folk Crafts to continue the spirit of Soetsu. Kuno explored around for distinguished pieces of Japanese handicraft in modern times and compiled them into a book, to provide us a gateway to keep on admiring the great works brought by folk craft.

久野惠一監修、荻原健太郎著的民藝の教科書系列,羅列了一系列的民間工藝,包括各式各樣的工藝品,包括玻璃、金屬製品和紙張、染色和編織、藤織品、木和漆器及陶瓷等,而第六冊《生活工具目錄》則是集前五冊產品的大成,猶如一本工藝品字典。就算是對日本工藝品一竅不通,也不會覺得艱深難懂,書中由最基本的「什麼是民間藝術?」說起,深入淺出地介紹全國各地的工藝品,讓人以最細膩的角度看待每一件看似尋常,卻又充滿美感的生活用具;加上如教科書般簡約清晰的排版和深入詳細的內容,帶領讀者走入工藝品背後的歷史和認識傳統製作技術,手造的溫度透過相片傳遞出來,讓生活用品觸摸起來更有質感,看起來更閃閃發光。
 

Edited by Keiichi Kuno and written by Kentaro Hagiwara, the textbook series of Japanese folk crafts has compiled a great list of folk crafts. The collection includes various kinds of handicraft such as glassware, metalware, paper, dyes, woven crafts, rattan products, wood crafts, lacquerware, and pottery. Volume six of the series, The Catalogue of Everyday Tools, is a comprehensive compilation of the selected items from the previous five volumes. Even if you are absolutely unfamiliar with Japanese crafts, you will still find this dictionary-like collection easy to read. The book begins with a chapter called “What is folk art?”. The introductory chapter is written in a simple language to give readers an insight into the different kinds of crafts from all over Japan. It aims at inviting readers to look attentively at every piece of daily utensils to see the beauty hidden under their ordinary outlook. The clear typesetting and in-depth content provide a text-book reading experience. Readers would get to understand the history behind every crafted piece and understand the traditional production method. The temperament of the crafts can even be felt by the glittering pictures.

益子木綿的紡織品、角館的織籃、南部鐵壺、倉敷的玻璃品、因州和紙和栃木的鹿沼帚等民間工藝品,都是緊密連結生活的用品,散發出樸素、真誠的吸引力,它們的沉穩、安靜,彷佛承載著不同地方的生活的氣息。由工藝品作為導遊去重新認識日本文化也是一個另類的旅行團吧!
 

The textile from Mashiko Momen, the woven baskets from Kakunodate, the iron pot from the south, the glassware from Kurashiki, the Inshu-washi paper and the broom from Tonichi… these are all great examples of how folk crafts are intertwined with our everyday life. Their modest grace exudes a subtle harmony that carries the essence of their origins. To experience Japanese culture through folk crafts is perhaps an alternative but exciting cultural journey.

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