While Japan’s tradition in bamboo art is centuries long, the art form has not received as much academic attention as one might expect. That being said, there are great publications about Japanese bamboo art available to those interested in learning more about this medium’s artists, works, and history. Although several of these books are out of print, they can still be found online and in library collections. We particularly recommend those written by our gallery’s founder and by our Director of Japanese Art, Rob Coffland and Koichiro Okada respectively.
Here are a few suggestions to bolster your libraries:
Contemporary Japanese Bamboo Arts by Robert T. Coffland, 2000
Twenty of Japan’s leading bamboo artists are featured in portraits and through their stunning bamboo baskets and sculptures. The artists include two Living National Treasures of Japan, as well as artists of traditional and contemporary styles. The author gives the reader the necessary background information to understand how this art form evolved over the last 150 years and the current challenges the field faces. Included are beautiful photographs by Pat Pollard and portraits by Art Streiber.
Hin: The Quiet Beauty of
Japanese Bamboo Art by Robert T. Coffland
Hin celebrates the work of 37 modern Japanese bamboo basket makers. Included are two essays, one discussing Japanese baskets as an art form, and another on bamboo collecting in the west. Photographs illustrate the stunning detail of each piece. Also included is an index of artists and their biographies.
Modern Twist: Contemporary Japanese Bamboo Art by Andreas Marks
Modern Twist explores the evocative, sensual, and sculptural power of contemporary bamboo art. Although bamboo is an abundant natural resource, it is a challenging artistic medium with fewer than 100 professional bamboo artists living in Japan today. Mastering the art form requires decades of meticulous practice while learning how to harvest, split, and plait the bamboo. Modern Twist features 17 of these artists and 38 of their innovative and imaginatively crafted sculptures.
Baskets: Masterpieces of Japanese Bamboo Art 1850-2015 by Joe Earle, with photography by Bertrand Stark, 2017
This authoritative catalog features 323 works from the Naej Collection, which is especially strong in works by leading artists from 1850 to 1950, when great craft dynasties were established and first Osaka and then Tokyo emerged as major centers of artistic basketry. The catalog breaks new ground by combining dramatic photography with precious documentary information drawn from signatures and inscriptions, making it not merely the visual record of a great collection but the essential reference work for a developing field of connoisseurship.
New Bamboo: Contemporary Japanese Masters by Joe Earle, 2008
This stunning book celebrates contemporary Japanese masters whose imaginative works are changing the definition of basketry. Focusing on bamboo artists working in sculptural forms, Joe Earle argues that today’s bamboo sculpture reaches beyond its craft roots to abandon functionality, while maintaining meticulous attention to the rigorous technical skill on which Japanese basketry was founded. New Bamboo sheds light on the complex relationship between past and present cultures.
Masters of Bamboo: Artistic Lineages in the Lloyd Cotsen Japanese Basket Collection by Melissa M. Rinne in consultation with Koichiro Okada, 2008
In this book accompanying the exhibition Masters of Bamboo: Japanese Baskets and Sculpture from the Cotsen Collection, exhibition curator Melissa Rinne, in consultation with bamboo specialist Koichiro Okada, provides an overview of the art form. She also traces the network of master-disciple influences that constitute major lineages– or lines of artistic transmission– from 19th-century artists through those active today.
Japanese Bamboo Baskets: Masterworks of Form and Texture with essays by Lloyd Cotsen, et.al., 1999
This is the first book in English to examine bamboo baskets as modern sculptural masterpieces and to chronicle the development of Japanese flower-arranging baskets from utilitarian containers through their subsequent transformation into art. Surveying 19th and 20th century baskets of Japan and their place in history, it features more than 250 illustrations.
Fendre L’Air catalogue in English and French by Stephane Martin, et al., 2019
The Fendre L’Air exhibition at the Musee du Quai Branly Jacques Chirac brought together 160 works paying tribute to the art of bamboo basketry.
This was the first exhibition in France dedicated to Japanese bamboo basketry, gathering treasures produced by amazingly inventive artists. Sometimes stripped of all functionality, the most contemporary basketry becomes pure sculpture, making for a profoundly original artistic field.
Japanese Bamboo Art: The Abbey Collection by Monika Bincsik afterword by Moroyama Masanori
This catalogue accompanies the exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. It provides an overdue introduction to exquisite works, which represent a cultural tradition stretching back hundreds of years. The works illustrated and discussed are exceptional for their broad representation of many notable bamboo masters, and highlight key stages in the modern history of Japanese bamboo art.
TAI Modern catalogues are available on ISSUU.com or in hard copy by calling or emailing the gallery.