Kazumi Wilds ~ Japan

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Born in Tokyo, Kazumi Wilds graduated from an art college in Tokyo majoring in Japanese painting (Nihonga). She has lived in the US for several years and completed the Book Arts MFA program at the University of Iowa. While living in the US she wrote her first picture book, HAJIME IN THE NORTH WOODS, about her first son and the wild animals in Minnesota, where she had lived. The book was published by Arcade Publishing of New York in 1994. Wilds now lives and paints in the mountains of Shimane prefecture in Japan.


The Story of Ancient Japan

Written by Ono Yasumaro in 712 C.E. Iowa City, Iowa: Kazumi Wilds, 2018. Edition of [16]*.

10 x 12.25"; 36 pages including one foldout. Areas of selected images were dyed with indigo, black beans, logwood, hibiscus and iron. The images were letterpress printed using linoleum, polymer, and other relief methods. Selected images stenciled using pochoir applied by hand. Text printed from hand-set Bembo types. Bound in cloth dyed with indigo, using the Japanese katazome technique to reveal the title. Bound in a drum-leaf binding. Signed and numbered by the artist.

*16 books printed with 6 on paper handmade by the artist using flax, cotton, and Japanese kozo; 6 on Johannot mouldmade paper, 4 on Domestic Etching paper. Each book is numbered within its version (i.e., 'This book is number 2 of 4 on Domestic Etching paper).'

Text edited and interpreted from translations by Basil Hall Chamberlain (1882) and Yaichiro Isobe (1928). Text of the scene of marriage of Izanagi and Izanami at a pillar from the book "The Kojiki: An Account of Ancient Matters" translated by Gustav Heldt (2014).

Caxton Club [November 10, 2017] "UICB MFA Candidates Among Caxton Award Winners": "The work of KOJIKI has captivated Kazumi Wilds for much of her life. The myths of "KOJIKI," or Records of Ancient Matters, are Japan’s oldest surviving written work, authored by Ono Yasumaro at Emperor Temmu’s request and completed in 712 CE. Wilds aims to share these generationally-transmitted classical stories that portray the indigenous culture of Japan through her interpreted images and texts. Using a vast array of craft techniques from paper making to printing to binding, she envisions this project as a synthesis of Eastern and Western techniques and materials."

Kazumi Wilds [Afterword] "A Note on Kojiki Mythology": " Kojiki, completed in 712 C.E., is Japan's oldest surviving written work. It is written in three volumes that cover the mythology and establishment of the nation of Japan. These volumes are divided loosely corresponding to myth, legend, and actual historical events. Kojiki is not only an invaluable historical source and entertaining compilation of Japanese mythology, it is also the cornerstone of the Japanese indigenous Shinto religion, its gods and rituals. The myths' stories are spectacular, exotic, mysterious, and sometimes even comical. I focused in this artists' book about the beginning of the myths in the form of a picture book.

"Shimane prefecture in Japan has the strongest ties to the mythology of the Kojiki, and it is also where my house is located. A third of all the places mentioned in the myths are located in my prefecture and I have visited many of them. Thus, I have had my own experiences reflecting on the Kojiki, and many of them I have incorporated into this book. Since the Kojiki is so closely related to Simane prefecture, there are more religious rituals and events through the year there than in most other regions. Each community has their own tradition of performing Kagura, which literally means 'God entertainment,' at their festivals. Kagura refers to a specific type of sacred Shinto theatrical dance set to music that is dedicated to the deities in the mythology ...

"There is a unique pluralistic attitude to religion in Japan, which has deeply informed our traditions and culture. We see Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples all over Japan, and it is not uncommon for them to coexist on the same premises..... There are more than eight million gods and goddesses in Japan that inhabit the world as a variety of spirits and other manifestations. This includes human-shaped deities like Izanagi and Izanami in this book, animals and plants…."

on Domestic Etching machine-made paper (SOLD)
on Johannot, mouldmade paper (SOLD)
on handmade paper and in clamshell box (SOLD)

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Kojiki in box
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Page last update: 11.13.18

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