The thread holding this wondrous book together is Hideyuki Oka (1905 - 1995), one of the masters of Japanese graphic design and advertising. The pieces shown in the 200-plus magnificent photos here (almost all full-color) are from Oka's personal collection of traditional packaging, using all natural materials such as bamboo, rice straw, hemp twine, paper, ceramics and leaves. The Japanese sense of ''Wa'' - an evocative, hard-to-translate term conveying the aesthetic and resonance of traditional Japanese culture - infuses these remarkable examples of art elevating the stuff of everyday life. A garland of eggs or dried fish woven into straw; a ceramic orange designed to hold citrus miso; bright green candies in a hand-hewn pine box - all of these transcend their obvious ''uses.'' An impeccable traditional book design that opens from left to right, on beautiful heavy paper, in Japanese only.
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