While woven bamboo containers have been common in Asia for thousands of years, it is only in the past 150 years that basketry has become widely regarded as an art form. This stunning book celebrates contemporary Japanese bamboo masters whose breathtakingly beautiful and imaginative new works are changing the definition of basketry. Focusing on contemporary bamboo artists working in sculptural forms, the book is based on recent interviews and critical analysis. In his compelling and accessible text, 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. Poised between traditional and contemporary art and drawing inspiration from both, Japanese bamboo art sheds new light on the complex relationship between past and present cultures.
Joe Earle is vice president and director of the gallery at Japan Society, New York City.