Spirit Hidden in the Trees

The Tradition and Craftsmanship of Japanese Carpentry

Especially in the case of Japanese crafts and applied arts, one ought to look inquisitively beyond the obvious and directly perceivable. Much can and should be said about the Japanese carpenters’ matchless manual skills, precision in planning and execution, perfectly designed tools, always ready for use, and the aesthetics that springs up unexpectedly in places whose function seems purely technical. Material culture, however, flourishes only when enhanced with profounder values, and these usually stem from spiritual or philosophical systems. Tangible materiality commands tremendous respect in Japan, and is often associated with the sacred sphere, as it derives from nature, whose world has for centuries been filled with supernatural deities.


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