Early Japanese Sword Guards by Masayuki Sasano

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Early Japanese Sword Guards by Masayuki Sasano

Postby Albert R » Wed Aug 23, 2017 8:05 pm

Folks,
I just received, not five minutes ago, via Amazon, Early Japanese Sword Guards by Masayuki Sasano.
I've read that it is a very coveted book, and I was fortunate enough to get it at a very reasonable price, along with Japanese Garden Design by Mark P Keane.
I'm very excited to start my reference library with these fine books. I look forward to reviewing them for us!

Sitting quietly with a tumbler of bourbon!
Albert
PS: Splash of water, and three cubes of ice...
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Re: Early Japanese Sword Guards by Masayuki Sasano

Postby Ford » Wed Aug 23, 2017 9:52 pm

sounds to me like an idyllic moment of pure indulgence and immersion. You've deserved this I hope you savour every detail as much as is humanly possible. I salute you my friend :-)
"The artist yields often to the stimuli of materials that will transmit his spirit." Odilon Redon
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Re: Early Japanese Sword Guards by Masayuki Sasano

Postby Albert R » Thu Aug 24, 2017 1:17 am

Thank you Sir!
As always, you are too kind and gracious!

I've read Part One, and now it is time to ruminate upon what I've learned...
And there are 266 of the finest Sukashi Tsuba to indulge in!

Thank you!
Albert
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Re: Early Japanese Sword Guards by Masayuki Sasano

Postby Albert R » Sun Aug 27, 2017 1:58 pm

Folks,
I've had a few days to look over Early Japanese Sword Guards, and I must say I have spent a lot more money on universities and gotten far less education!

Part 1 is a short (26 pages) discussion on history, arts, and aesthetics. What I have taken away from both this book and Japanese Garden Design by Marc P Keane (Which I have not finished reading yet.) is a greater understanding of the Japanese aesthetic, and its historical context. I'll speak only for myself, but I fell into things Japanese because I always liked Sushi, Bonsai, Samurai, JPop, Aikido, and Ramen noodles. The truth is I had no comprehension of what comprised the Japanese means of artistic expression, and more importantly why and how it came to be. (Just to be clear I have barely scratched the surface!)

Part II are the pictures. There are several plates in color, with the rest in black and white. The pictures though, are a catalogue of what experts consider to be the best of Sukashi Tsuba. Each example has a full paragraph, describing the tsuba in detail, along with the time frame wherein it was made. With the foregoing in mind, I can look at the pictures and begin to understand the factors that make them top drawer examples.

There is an appendix which is quite interesting. There is a discussion on the care and maintenance of tsuba, and an admonition against using tea, oils, or waxes... We gotta talk about that!

Now, remember this was published in 1972, on paper stock, in black and white. Its a book. If you've become accustomed to Hi-Res color pictures of tsuba on MAAS orMFA, you might be a little disappointed. None-the-less, the pictures are clear, printed with sufficient fine detail to clearly see structure and textures. I might also suggest that using the book in conjunction with online collections would further your education dramatically! As I mentioned, the descriptions are clear and concise, the information and vernacular are instructive.

To sum it up, it is the understanding of what comprises Japanese aesthetics that has been most important to me. To "see" beyond the initial impression, to "see" what has been implied, to grasp the larger picture beyond the object itself, that's what these books are teaching me.

I consider Early Japanese Sword Guards an investment, I would heartily recommend it to anyone interested in tsuba, collecting tsuba, or just metal working in the Japanese aesthetic tradition.

One last thing: Ford took the time to write a bibliography of recommended books on Japanese art and aesthetics here:

Japanese Art and Aesthetics: A Reading List
I have purchased two of the books from the list so far, and have not been disappointed.


Regards,
Albert
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