‘People’s crafts’, a term coined by Muneyoshi Yanagi, the founder of the Japanese folk crafts movement. Formed against a background of growing cultural nationalism and colonial expansion in Asia, especially Korea, this concept and the movement associated with it attained wide influence in the mid-20th century (see also Japan §XVI).
The mingei undō (‘folk craft movement’) grew out of the early association of Yanagi and the Japanese potters Shōji Hamada, Kenkichi Tomimoto, Kanjirō Kawai and the Englishman Bernard Leach. In 1926 the four Japanese announced a plan to establish a museum for folk crafts, heralding the discovery of a ‘new realm of beauty’ in the ordinary utensils of daily living—robust, wholesome, traditional handicrafts made by anonymous artisans for the common people. Yanagi called these objects mingei, explaining the term as an abbreviation of minshūteki kōgei (‘people’s crafts’), and gave the English translation as ‘folk crafts’. The proclaimed objectives of the group were not only to assemble and document a collection of old folk crafts but to encourage the production of new ...
Reference Entry. 2141 words.
Subjects: East Asian Art
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