Kokusai the Genius

And Stag-Antler Carving in Japan (box set)

Paul Moss

Publication date:
April 2017
Publisher :
Ad Ilissum
Format Available     Quantity Price
ISBN : 9781912168033
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• The first comprehensive publication on the prodigious and extraordinary
Japanese netsuke carver Kokusai (1835-18).
• A milestone in netsuke scholarship:
258 generously illustrated entries make this the largest single assembla of
Kokusai's work, which, combined with information on the artist's colourful life
provide a fascinating insight into 19th-century Japan.

Kokusai lived in a time of immense social, cultural and artistic change, and his work - and indeed his own person - captures its contradictions. The Edo period was ending, the last breath of feudal Japan, and the Meiji Restoration launched the new nation into a dramatic, Westernized and industrialized modernity. Kokusai was a radical interpreter of this world, holding up a mirror to the rich culture vanishing before his eyes. A modernist who yet stubbornly adhered to ancient, simple values, he carved humble, personal truths into the most intractable of materials while simultaneously enjoying a life of wild excess and lavish beauty. This beautifully illustrated set of three volumes - titled Precursors, Kokusai and Followers - includes catalogue entires for 608 objects as well as a number of sub-entries. Also included are essays on Kokusai's life, carving techniques, materials and followers — the latter of which demonstrates his extraordinary and lasting influence. Most objects are illustrated at size and are augmented by additional and lavish detail photography. Many of the larger objects, such as staffs and sceptres, are illustrated with luxurious fold-out pages.


This impressive three volume publication is a celebration of Kokusai … the catalogue is one of the most beautiful I have seen, from the lavish covers to the remarkable photography and high-quality print that covey the details of the works, it is truly a joy.
Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society