Japanese Wood and Carpentry

Mechtild Mertz
Page size: B5, 140 pp. (140 color pp.) 436 g. Language: English. 2020

Paper book: ¥4,800 JPY+tax (ISBN9784860993672)
Online book: ¥2,400 JPY ~ ¥4,800 JPY+tax (ISBN9784860997052)
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Drawing attention to the wood species used by Japan's carpenters, Japanese Wood and Carpentry, Rustic and Refined, reveals the ingenious ways in which Japanese carpenters exploit the extraordinary diversity of their country's forest resources. Its first part introduces four types of Japanese carpenters – temple and shrine carpenters, carpenters of refined teahouses and residences, joiners of doors, windows and screens, and general carpenters – and details the wood species used by each. In its second part, the book grants the modern-day reader access to a rare document: the Yûyô Mokuzai Shôran handbook, a guide to Japanese wood species prepared by the Meiji government for the 1876 Philadelphia Exhibition. Full-size facsimiles of thirty-two of the handbook's samples furnish an in-depth look at some of the important wood species used in Japanese architectural construction. Together, the two parts make for an indispensable resource for anyone interested in learning more about Japan’s fascinating ‘culture of wood’.

Mechtild Mertz After having trained as a cabinetmaker in Germany, Mechtild Mertz took courses in Japanese Studies and East Asian Art History, first at the University of Heidelberg and then at the Sorbonne University. She studied wood anatomy at Pierre-et-Marie-Curie University (Paris) and obtained a PhD in ethnobotany at the National Museum of Natural History (Paris). For over fifteen years she has been a Cooperative Researcher at Kyoto University’s Research Institute for Sustainable Humanosphere (formerly the Wood Research Institute). Since 2018 she has been a Researcher specializing in Asian religious wooden sculpture at the East Asian Research Centre (CRCAO) of the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) in Paris.

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