The Beauty of Everyday Things
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ABOUT THE BEAUTY OF EVERYDAY THINGS
The Japanese philosopher and aesthete’s definitive, hugely influential exposition of his philosophy of folkcrafts, setting out the hallmarks of Japanese design as we know it today: anonymity, quality, simplicity and honesty—and, of course, wabi-sabi, the beauty of imperfection
A Penguin Classic
Our lives are filled with objects. Everyday things used in everyday settings, they are our constant companions. 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—an aesthetic fulfillment of our practical needs. They should, in short, be things of beauty.
Long revered as the authority on craftsmanship and Japanese aesthetics, Yanagi devoted his life and writing to defend the value of craft. In an age of feeble and ugly machine-made things, The Beauty of Everyday Things is a call for each of us to deepen our relationship with the objects that surround us. Inspired by the work of the simple artisans Yanagi encountered on his lifelong travels through Japan and Korea, this now-classic book is a heartfelt defence of modest, honest, handcrafted objects, from traditional teacups to jars to paper—objects that exemplify the beauty of everyday things.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Soetsu Yanagi (1889–1961) was a philosopher, art historian, aesthete and poet. He evolved a theory of why certain objects made by unknown craftsmen were so beautiful, and became the founding father of the Japanese folk crafts (“mingei”) movement. He helped establish, and was the first director of, the Japanese Folk Crafts Museum.