The elements of Japanese design: a handbook of family crests, heraldry & symbolism

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Weatherhill, 1990 - Design - 170 pages
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The Elements of Japanese Design is a library of traditional Japanese design motifs in the form of more than 2,700 family crests ( mon) compiled and drawn by a Kyoto publisher and bookseller early in the twentieth century, and selected and interpreted by John Dower, a leading American scholar of Japan. First used for identification on the battlefield beginning in the twelfth century, mon developed into symbols of family pride and fortune and quintessential expressions of the Japanese design sensibility—especially in their economy of means, exquisite detailing, and boldness of composition. The motifs employed in these family crests are also a fascinating window into the symbolic system of traditional Japan, which drew from a rich palette of natural phenomena, plants, animals, abstract devices, and manmade objects. This book will be a source of pleasure and inspiration to anyone interested in the basic elements of Japanese design, and of valuable information to anyone wishing to know more about the remarkable culture that produced it.

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The Courtly Society and the Roots of Heraldic Design
The Warrior Society and the First Bloom of Heraldry
High Feudalism and the Flowering of Heraldic Practice

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About the author (1990)

John Dower first encountered Japanese family crests while working as an editor and book designer. His interest in them led him to devote several years to collecting and classifying them.

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