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Zen Culture
 
 

Zen Culture [Kindle Edition]

Thomas Hoover
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

“Highly recommended”
The Center for Asian Studies

Anyone who examines the Zen arts is immediately struck by how modern they seem. The ceramics of 16th-century Zen artists could be interchanged with the rugged pots of our own contemporary crafts movement; ancient calligraphies suggest the monochromes of Franz Kline or Willem de Kooning; the apparent nonsense and illogic of Zen parables (and No theater and Haiku poetry) established the limitations of language long before the theater of the absurd; 400-year-old Zen architecture seems to be a copy of modern design ideas such as modular space and a California marriage of house and garden.
Zen values experiencing things over analyzing them. Perhaps if we can take the power of direct perception, sharpened by the devices of Zen art, back to everyday activities, we will find a beauty in common objects that we previously ignored.

Selected Reviews

The notoriously grumpy Kirkus Reviews said, “Thomas Hoover has a considerable gift for expressing his appreciation and understanding of various arts associated with Zen. . . . These are deftly treated, with a concise synopsis of the historical development of each; and together Hoover’s discussions provide an excellent introduction to the aesthetics of Japanese culture.”

Library Journal said, “Hoover covers the ground in an easy and informative way, describing the origins of Zen itself and the Zen roots of swordsmanship, architecture, food, poetry, drama, ceramics, and many other areas of Japanese life. The book is packed with facts, the bibliography is excellent, the illustrations few but most appropriate, and the style clear and smooth. A most useful book for all collections.”

Asian Studies declared, “Highly recommended. ZEN CULTURE moves easily from the political climate that gave rise to Zen to the cultural areas – art, architecture, theatre, literature, flower arrangement, design, archery, swordsmanship – where Zen has manifested itself.”

As for the influence of the Zen aesthetic, the Houston Chronicle said, “Hoover suggests we need only look around. Modern furniture is clean, simple lines in unstained, unadorned woods. And that old fad became a habit, houseplants. These are all expressions of ideas born with Zen: understatement, asymmetry, intuitive perception, nature worship, disciplined reserve.”

“Highly recommended,” said The Center for Asian Studies.

“Western intellectuals have tried to represent the height of Buddhist mysticism within the pages of mere books, reducing an ineffable experience into a written report. Predictably such attempts have failed miserably. ZEN CULTURE by Thomas Hoover comes the closest to succeeding,” said Hark Publishing

“ZEN CULTURE, concerned as it is with the process of perception as much as with actual works of art, can open our sense so that we experience anew the arts of both East and West, ancient and modern.” declared the Asian Mail.

And to go multi-media, NYC-FM in New York said, “Hoover takes us on a grand tour of Zen archery and swordsmanship, flower arranging, drama, food, gardening, painting, poetry, architecture. His book is essentially one by a connoisseur.”

Tags: Zen History, Haiku, Zen, Ceramics, Archery, Landscape Garden, Stone Garden, Ink Landscape, Zen Architecture, Sword, Katana, No Theater, Noh Theater, Japanese Tea Ceremony, Flower arranging, Ikebana, Zen Ceramic Art, Raku, Shino, Ryoanji-ji

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1217 KB
  • Print Length: 282 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Random House (13 Sep 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0042X99OO
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #8,907 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars And I still don't understand Zen 18 Oct 2011
By Bob TOP 100 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a very comprehensive book. Moans first about the Kindle version, on opening it starts at 5% so you have to page back otherwise you miss some of the time lines, the other dislike is there are random hyphens in some of the words which is quite distracting. Apart from that the Kindle version is good with some helpful illustrations. There is also a very comprehensive reference section and glossary which could have been improved with hyperlinks rather than having to bookmark and switch back and forwards.
I headed this as "and I still don't understand Zen" which is fair comment as I started with no real knowledge of Zen other than passing references in books I have read and the word seems to have slipped into the English language with no real meaning attached.
This book does attempt to explain it but all it does is to show that a book is not adequate to explain it, however the book does comprehensively cover much of Japanese history and culture and explains much about Japanese culture as much as Zen.
The book is divided into a number of sections and although I read it all the way through it would also be useful as a reference to various facets these are:-
Part 1: The beginnings: Prehistory to 1333; Which includes such diverse subjects as "Zen Culture and the Counter Mind" and "Zen Archery and Swordsmanship"
Part 11: The Age of high Culture: Ashikaga (1333-1573); Which includes much about Gardens, Architecture and the No theatre.
Part 111: The Rise of Popular Zen Culture: 1573 to the Present; Which includes the tea ceremony, ceramic art, poetry and flowers and food.
These are followed by large sections on References, Bibliography and a Glossary.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent introduction 1 April 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A clear introduction to Zen through the arts and culture it influenced. The author is clearly knowledgeable and passionate, and conveys lots of information while retaining the all-important sense of mystery inherent to Zen.
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Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I'm finding this a very clear and useful review not only of the growth and aesthetics of the main branches of Japanese art, but of the way they fit into the history of the country. My only complaint, as with many e-books, is that the illustrations are so small! But as it's a freebie, I'm left with a great sense of gratitude to the author and publishers. Thank-you to both.
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