The Beauty of Everyday Things
The daily lives of ordinary people are replete with objects, common things used in commonplace settings. These objects are our constant companions in life. As such, writes Soetsu Yanagi, they should be made with care and built to last, treated with respect and even affection. They should be natural and simple, sturdy and safe - the aesthetic result of wholeheartedly fulfil...more
The Unknown Craftsman has some overlap as some essays are printed in that too (the kasuri and pattern chapters off the top of my head), but also provides good insight into aesthetics too. The key difference I'd say is UC includes the essay on craftsmanship and what the craftsman should be according to Yanagi (and Leach, given his editorship). I'm also not sure which version of UC you are looking at, but I think most will have the introduction by Leach and potentially another foreword by someone else (I can't remember who exactly). In this way, UC also gives an outsider's view of the movement, especially Leach's relationship with Yanagi, given that Everyday Things only includes essays by Yanagi and nothing more.
Each collection has its nuance, I think if you're after an overview of Japanese folk-craft aesthetics then probably Everyday Things, as that's also more accessible I think. Both include a decent amount that covers the folk craft aesthetics, so it depends on what you're after really. (less)
- Artisan objects are aesthetically superior to classic art objects because of their simplicity
- You will only find perfect artisan objects, there is no such thing as imperfect ones
- Artisan objects are a manifestation of nature's intention.
A lot of truisms in this book, which is something I sometimes find in Japanese writing and do not really enjoy. That intellectualized sk ...more
“It is common knowledge that the mechanisation and commercialisation of industry have resulted in the unending manufacture of poorly made goods. This decline in quality is the result of the excesses of the profit motive, organisational distortions, technical limitations, and much more. Furthermore, the working conditions in factories are oppressive, and workers find their work to be meaningless. Add to this the fact that there are no restrictions on mechanisation, which leads to rampant producti ...more
There are some interesting bits here, if you're interested in Japanese art (my main goal), but if you're after ruminations on the bea ...more
It is the sort of book that would work well for any ...more
The middle and final sections however were a bit of bore; very specific exampl ...more
It then weaves together essays by Yanagi Sōetsu, the intellectual founder of the movement. The essays vary in subject and don’t always feel cohesive, but that’s likely as they were published years, sometimes decades apart.
What’s captivating about the collection of essays is that Sōetsu’s philosophy barely changes, merely evolving to incorporate new artists and m ...more
Having said that, reading Sōetsu Yanagi made me realize how important it is for us non-Western cultures to have thinkers like him that are able to “name” and hence define a culture (or aesthetic) separate and also equally breathtaking ...more
I went to him because I was looking for the principles behind the Muji Stores, and, as far as I know, he was the one who first recognized the intrinsic value of simplicity ("muji") in common objects.
It does not ge ...more
''Human restriction is nature's freedom'' (p.115)
''For a true understanding of art, in order to touch its essential nature, instinctive insight must precede cerebral discrimination; intuitive understanding must come before intellectual comprehension.'' (p.271) ...more
Community and folk art teaches diligence, capability and the spirit of togetherness. More than anything, it's an act of reviving the art of generations.
The book in a nutshell. ...more