"... a worthy addition to the library of anyone interested in bamboo and its place in Japanese culture." —Orientations
"It's beautifully produced, astoundingly comprehensive, and obviously a labor of love." —Surface Design Journal
"... stunning graphics, photographs and comprehensive coverage of all aspects of the big grass. Recommended." —Kansai Time Out
"Anyone who has interest in bamboo, bamboo crafts, rituals, or Japanese culture would benefit from owning this beautiful book." —Bamboo: The Magazine of The American Bamboo Society
"A must for any library." —Los Angeles Basketry Guild Newsletter
"... speaks to an American basketry artist's passionate engagement with a ubiquitous Japanese material and, by extension, with Japanese culture." —American Craft
"Beautiful photography makes this book a coffee table star, but the thoughtful scholarship elevates it to the permanent reference shelf." —Oregonian
"A visually stunning book with beautiful layout, extraordinary photographs, and sensitive, well-written text." —Fiberarts
"Part lavish coffee-table book, part illustrated encyclopedia, it is an exceptional blend of beauty and instruction." —Joseph Lapenta, Ikebana International
"A spectacularly beautiful book... Broad in coverage and fascinating to peruse ..." —Choice
This is a fully illustrated guide to the art, craft and design of bamboo, as demonstrated by the Japanese. It demonstrates how to use inexpensive materials to create sophisticated effects in the home and garden. A list of bamboo collections, gardens and research sources is included.
Nancy Moore Bess has produced a fabulous, informative book - and the photographs are instructive as well as being beautiful. I had an occasion to take a two-day Japanese basketry workshop with her. Don't ever pass up the chance to be around her - her knowledge of all things Japanese is vast and she has wonderful stories to tell.
BAMBOO IN JAPAN is one of the most exciting and beautiful books I've read in years. During her many years of researching in Japan, Bess discovered that bamboo contributes to every aspect of Japanese life: from architecture to religion, from household goods to children's toys. Bamboo is made into fans, baskets, kites, fences, tea ceremony whisks and scoops; into rakes, blinds, lanterns, spoons, dolls, umbrellas, fish rods, swords, and even into musical instruments such as the eerie, reedy shakuhachi. The book is filled with fascinating facts and anecdotes. Ancient documents chronicle the use of a small bamboo knife that was thought to have magical powers, and so was used to cut the umbilical cord after birth. In the 17th century an ordinance mandated that peasants plant bamboo in order to use the leaves for fuel. Did you know that some varieties of bamboo grow so quickly that one can actually watch them grow? Or that the adult plant is strong enough to support traditional scaffolding tens of stories high, yet delicate enough to be cut into fibers hardly wider than a hair? A Japanese folktale describes a bamboo cutter's discovery of a beautiful miniature princess in a bamboo shoot. Additionally, Bess includes resources for observation and research in Japan and in the US. An internationally known textile and basket craftsperson, Bess has produced a book so vibrant and colorful, it will grow and grow sky high in your imagination.
There have been other fine books that show and describe bamboo in Japan, both plants and craft, but no other book has so effectively shown how this remarkable plant has shaped a culture in all of its aspects, from the roots of its language, to its cuisine, its art, and its commerce---from the most mundane tools of daily life to the most sublime aspect of art and spirit. Beautifully designed, the book itself is a work of art, with text and photographs woven together in such a way that one finds that one has not simply read a book about a topic, but has become a part of that experience. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!