'a pattern is a picture of the essence of an object, an object's very life; its beauty is of that life'
The Unknown Craftsman, Soetsu Yanagi
in the heat i turn to uchiwa. on one kyoto tourist website, they describe the uchiwa most excellently as the japanese 'casual breeze-making tool of choice'. a more prosaic description would maybe read; flat, non-folding japanese fan with printed patterns on silk or paper stretched over a bamboo frame.
the uchiwa pictured here are from mingei fukuda, a store that features traditional japanese crafts. the pattern designer is serizawa keisuke. serizawa was a leading artisan of the mingei* movement in japan and was named a living national treasure by the Emporer in 1956. am not sure about you, but the concept that japan endows its artists and artisans with the honour of living national treasure makes me very happy.
*mingei is the term for what is popularly known as folkart, or 'art of the people' ('min' meaning all people and 'gei' meaning art). the term mingei was coined by the movement's founder, yanagi soetsu. i am currently nurturing a bit of an obsession with yanagi's influential book the unknown craftsman and will certainly be posting more on his philosophy of beauty.