Mention of Japanese crafts or mingei typically generates an image of delicate straw baskets, indigo-dyed cloth, and lacquered combs. So too does it recall the well-known mark of distinction given to skilled artisans in Japan, even in the twenty-first century—“Living National Treasures.” Such icons of craft culture represent the institutionalization and preservation of traditional techniques and materials for specific crafts by contemporary practitioners. But in contrast to considering Japanese crafts in the context of unchanging traditions and the continuous use of the original materials that shaped everyday objects centuries ago, Guth takes a different perspective in Craft Culture in Early Modern Japan. Her deep expertise in Japan’s visual and material culture between the late sixteenth and nineteenth centuries leads her to develop a dynamic rather than static view of “traditional” Japanese crafts. For Guth, Japanese crafts are best seen not as direct descendants of a material culture developed centuries...
Craft Culture in Early Modern Japan: Materials, Makers, and Mastery by Christine M. E. Guth
Mary C. Brinton; Craft Culture in Early Modern Japan: Materials, Makers, and Mastery by Christine M. E. Guth. The Journal of Interdisciplinary History 2022; 53 (3): 566–568. doi: https://doi.org/10.1162/jinh_r_01901
Download citation file: