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photo : Straw egg holder / Foodstuffs/ Yamagata prefecture. A work of art in itself, this packaging was made by farmers well versed in the properties of straw, and born out of long experience. There were many variations of this packaging method, and eggs were also packed horizontally, depending on the region. Contrived so that even if the topmost egg is taken out, the next one won’t break. Made by Seiji Ishikawa (1921-1997). Photograph by Michikazu Sakai
Practicality and Aesthetics
The materials used for packaging were those found close to hand in nature. Much of the packaging was born out of necessity, practical things that were deeply rooted in daily life and passed on through the generations. Functionally they were also superb, as wrapping made things convenient to carry around, and opening them up was simple. The items on display are a testimony to the highly advanced wrapping skills behind them.
Oka’s perspective has one more aspect to it, which is the aesthetic angle. The packaging did not have to be simply practical, it had to be beautiful as well. He sought out things that became even more beautiful through being wrapped. I felt as if I had seen the roots of the Japanese aesthetic that strives for beautiful wrapping, which has been passed down all the way to the present.
■Meguro Museum of Art, Tokyo
Meguro 2-4-36, Meguro-ku, Tokyo
Text / JQR Editorial Staff