Kingdom of Beauty: Mingei and the Politics of Folk Art in Imperial Japan - Asia-Pacific: Culture, Politics, and Society (Paperback)Kim Brandt (author)
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Kingdom of Beauty shows that the discovery of mingei (folk art) by Japanese intellectuals in the 1920s and 1930s was central to the complex process by which Japan became both a modern nation and an imperial world power. Kim Brandt's account of the mingei movement locates its origins in colonial Korea, where middle-class Japanese artists and collectors discovered that imperialism offered them special opportunities to amass art objects and gain social, cultural, and even political influence. Later, mingei enthusiasts worked with (and against) other groups-such as state officials, fascist ideologues, rival folk art organizations, local artisans, newspaper and magazine editors, and department store managers-to promote their own vision of beautiful prosperity for Japan, Asia, and indeed the world. In tracing the history of mingei activism, Brandt considers not only Yanagi Muneyoshi, Hamada Shoji, Kawai Kanjiro, and other well-known leaders of the folk art movement but also the often overlooked networks of provincial intellectuals, craftspeople, marketers, and shoppers who were just as important to its success. The result of their collective efforts, she makes clear, was the transformation of a once-obscure category of pre-industrial rural artifacts into an icon of modern national style.
Publisher: Duke University Press
Number of pages: 320
Weight: 445 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 20 mm
"A richly textured, beautifully written, and provocatively argued analysis of the Japanese folk-craft movement, this study sheds light on empire, middle-class material culture, the aesthetics of fascism, and much else common to twentieth-century societies in the throes of dislocating change. A beguiling book on important themes."-Carol Gluck, George Sansom Professor of History, Columbia University
"Kingdom of Beauty is an important work that contributes a grounded account of knowledge production processes, dynamics of art evaluation, and achievements of art centered social activism in a colonial setting that will be
useful to scholars in many fields."
-- Liora Sarfati * Museum Anthropology Review *
"Kingdom of Beauty is truly the most compelling study of Mingei I have read: it not only answers questions hitherto unanswered, but also provides useful tools for the future study of Mingei, particularly in the context of today's increasingly globalizing world. . . . I am deeply struck by the manner in which the author has approached often contentious topics with unabated tenacity, integrity, and sincerity." * Asian Ethnology *
"[A]n impressive narrative of mingei's cultural history . . . . Kingdom of Beauty is a rigorous scholarly work, much of which is based on Brandt's judicious use of Japanese primary resources. It is beautifully written, and benefits from the inclusion of numerous . . . plates of mingei wares. Brandt's argument is tight, comprehensive and engaging and, most importantly, groundbreaking in its excavation of the complex social forces at work and the entities associated with mingei's ascent in the first half of last century." -- Penny Bailey * Asian Studies Review *