THE JAPANESE ART OF TAKUMI

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I have always had a great fascination with Japanese culture, and the way they mindfully honour old traditions of craftsmanship. In Japan there is a separation between the ‘ordinary’ artisan and takumi– masters of their craft. 

 

Takumi form a large part of Japanese tradition. They are artists who hone and perfect their skills over a lifetime. In contemporary Japan the term has become more generic, and the true practitioners of takumi have declined, but there are still those who remain dedicated to their craft. Perfectionism, diligence and discipline are prominent traits of all takumi. For a true master, time spent honing their craft is not about monetary gain, but about continuing a dialogue with time, and the heart of mankind, itself.


While reading a blog about Japanese pottery by Robert Yellin in the Japanese Times I came across this quote;

I much prefer giving the money I earn from my labor to a ceramic artist than to a large, shapeless, multinational corporation that goes around exploiting the environment for the sake of profit and prestige. When I support a potter, I am also helping to preserve a craft that goes beyond the fad or trend of the year and, through its heritage, transcends the age in which we live. What goods can a large corporation manufacture that will make worthy heirlooms? [...] No matter what era the pieces flow into, they will still speak to the heart of man and not to his mind. These pieces speak of a truth beyond knowledge. Most of the mass-produced products companies spew out each year become obsolete the next. Most speak of nothing but the greed of the mind. For this reason, I give my support to the creators of beauty in a clay cup.
 
 
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The way in which the modern human craves the convenience and speed of machinery it would be easy for the old ways of craftsmanship to fade into history were it not for the takumi of the world.  Traditional crafted objects, made with two human hands, are not only mere things, but keepers of our cultural identity, heirloom pieces that speaks to the heart and communicate through time. 


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