Welcome back to our regular series, where we visit a different destination for Asian antiques, furniture and art. This week, we're in Japan: an ancient island civilization that is still a powerful force in art and culture today.
Japanese furniture and antiquities
Japan is a chain of islands lying in the Pacific Ocean, just off the eastern coast of Asia. For centuries, Japanese civilization developed without much contact from other countries. So it has a tradition of art and antiquities that is truly unique.
Japanese art contains enormous variety: everything from silk painting to woodcut prints, stone sculpture to ceramic vases. Although it has some Buddhist influences, Japanese artists also have a strong secular tradition, and have always liked to paint scenes from everyday life.
Japan is also known worldwide for its simple, elegant furniture and architecture. It's space-saving and sustainable, often using natural material such as wood, bamboo, and woven straw tatami mats.
Finally, Japan has something to inspire every gardener. From rock gardens to bonsai trees and ikebana flower arrangements, the compact, creative style of Japanese gardening is known and loved all over the world.
What to look out for
Japanese furniture works well with modern design trends. If you're interested in ergonomic furniture, minimalism or eco-friendly materials, then look out for Japanese antiques and modern furniture.
Japanese paintings and prints will add a touch of elegance to any interior. The famous ukiyo-e woodblock prints are highly colorful, often depicting fairytales and romances. If you prefer a minimalist or monochrome style, look out for traditional calligraphy on silk or paper.
For ceramic collectors, Japanese ceramics date back to the prehistoric Jomon period. Look for ceramics with distinctive cord patterns and stylized dogu figurines.