Zen art and culture ()
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October 30, 2016

Engawa

Engawa, the narrow wooden strips attached around the periphery of a house has been an indispensable part of the traditional Japanese house, functioning as a sun porch, a workshop, a venue for socializing and a buffer to shield the...

September 20, 2017

“Simplify!” Steve Jobs’ relentless quest for Zen design

Steve Jobs is known to have practiced the Soto-school of Japanese Zen, and is also known to have loved the kare-sansui garden of the Saijo-ji in Kyoto, which was founded by a prominent Zen priest/garden designer in the 14th century....

February 2, 2017

Kenya Hara and the aesthetics of “emptiness”

Kenya Hara is a Japanese graphic designer who helped cement the philosophy of Japanese brand MUJI by leveraging the concept of “emptiness.” Even though these concepts might appear similar, “emptiness” in Japanese aesthetics is...

February 16, 2017

Kintsugi: Repair beyond repair

Kintsugi” is a traditional Japanese technique to repair broken ceramics, but it’s something that will change your definition of “repair.” Using glue and gold or silver powder, Kintsugi “heals” injured ceramics and give them new life,...

August 17, 2017

Katsura Imperial Villa (Katsura Rikyu)

Katura Rikyu (Imperial Villa), built during the 17th century in Kyoto by an aristocrat family, is often dubbed as the culmination of traditional Japanese architecture. Its simplicity is very “modern.” You will be amazed how the fine,...

August 23, 2016

Ginkakuji: the labyrinth of wabi-sabi

The Jisho-ji, commonly known as Ginkakuji (the Silver Pavilion), is a villa created and lived by the 8th Muromachi shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa. It is considered the pinnacle of Zen-inspired wabi-sabi aesthetics. MUJI's advisor Kenya Hara...

September 15, 2017

Tofukuji kare-sansui by Mirei Shigemori

Japanese artist Mirei Shigemori (1896 – 1975) infused fresh energy into the traditional Japanese Zen rock garden (kare-sansui). Tofuku-ji Hojo garden in Kyoto is one of the most acclaimed works of his that still survives to this day....

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