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From the time Japan commenced trading with the West in the sixteenth century, Japanese arts and crafts have intrigued and delighted Westerners, especially lacquer, screens, swords, and porcelain. When the Japanese opened their country to trade and tourism in the mid-1850s, Westerners were quick to spot the beauty and value of select Japanese woodblock prints, screens, scrolls, swords and sword furnishings, netsuke, inro, furniture, cloisonné, decorative metalwork and sculpture. The Japanese pavilions at the Paris Exhibition in 1867 and other international expositions fueled further interest in collecting and gave impetus to Impressionism and the Japonisme art movement. As the Japanese discarded their traditional kimono and the paraphernalia associated with it, especially netsuke and inro, these items came to form the basis of Western art museums and scholarship. Collecting Japanese Antiques provides background information on what makes Japanese aesthetics and art so different, as well as practical and cautionary advice on evaluation, purchase, restoration, and price trends. Investment guidelines brief new and would-be enthusiasts on the basics of collecting, while offering comments and guidance that might reawaken interest in experienced collectors. Striking photographs highlight the beauty and craftsmanship of the items, which range from solid wood chests, delicate hand-carved ivory netsuke and ethereal cloisonné to elegant prints and ceramics. A glossary explains antique-related Japanese terms.
Alistair Seton graduated from Oxford University and Aberdeen College of Education before coming to Japan in 1972. He is a professor at Tezukayama Gakuin University, and lives in Kobe with his university professor wife and their two children.