The Art of Good Omens
by Jun’ichi Uchiyama
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 07 Sep 2021 | Archive Date 02 Jun 2021
Media Do International, Inc., PIE International
The world of mythical creatures born from human imagination is presented in this beautiful collection of artworks that symbolize good luck.
Many imaginary animals that are believed to be auspicious symbols of good fortune originated in ancient China. The most famous examples are the “Big Four”: the Winged Dragon, the Chinese Phoenix, Qilin (a hooved chimeric creature) and the Spirit Turtle. There are many more featured in this book, however, not only from China, but also from Japan and other regions around the world.
Auspicious Animals showcases illustrated artworks, along with sculptures and applied arts, that represent good omens. The collection, totaling around 240 pieces, is accompanied by rich, enjoyable and approachable text. This gorgeous edition featires metallic gold lamination on the cover and makes a great gift or reference for any art lover.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 19 members
I’m sure this book is wonderful, if I could read it. It won’t render properly on Pocketbook at all. Error, error, more errors.
Interesting and informative book, liked it. Recommended. Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine
In Ancient China some animals were seen as symbols of good fortune. The winged dragon, phoenix, spirit turtle and a hooved Qilin are considered to the be big four among the auspicious animals. There are many more auspicious animals that appear in both Chinese and Japanese artwork. The 240 pieces of art contained in this book were beautifully displayed, well organized and the author provided in depth information for each. I had no knowledge of auspicious animals when I picked up this book and I really enjoyed learning about them. Thank you PIE International for access to a digital ARC via NetGalley.
A thoroughly-researched and heavily illustrated guide to the historic creatures of ancient China, Japan, and beyond, replete with informed socioeconomic context and their effects on contemporary mythology, imagery, and culture.
Auspicious Animals is an art book which focuses upon the mythology and history of animals within Asian art, primarily Japanese and Chinese. This book contains 240 beautiful examples of art and even highlights set areas in larger formats for the reader to gain greater insight to the piece. The book is split into two simultaneous sections, one in the original language and the other in English. I personally loved this idea as it reminded me of being in a art gallery abroad. There where a number of format issues with this way of conducting the book, on numerous pages there is little to none English translation, however this is more of an inconvenience than a problem. The book is divided into easy to follow sections, allowing for easy allocation of a particular interest but also allows for a well flowing and interesting read if followed chronologically. The range of animals and mythical beasts covered is more than I initially expected, allowing for personal development within both areas I had pervious knowledge and those I had no knowledge within. Over all it was a well written and interesting read and I would recommend to anyone interested in animals, mythology, art or Asian culture.
A fun, historical read. I loved being able to see the old wall paintings, sculptures and depictions of animals throughout time. Written bilingually, this book takes you through dynasties, clans and the like. Beautifully written and illustrated.
This is a stunning book that would be prefect as a displayed coffee table book. I could see this book being sold at fine art museums (especially those focused on Asian art). The layout of the book is really well done and the photography of the artwork is excellent.. Anyone that likes Japanese or Chinese fine art will definitely enjoy this book. However, this book is definitely meant for having in hard copy rather than reading online. It would be prefect for reading over an extended period of time as it is divided into brief stories about each art work. The writing is in Japanese and English. Interesting to learn about the art and the meaning of the auspicious animals within the artwork!
I really enjoyed that this book is bilingual, I wish more books did that. This was a fun read even though it’s a tiny bit heavy.
I personally have not come across a book like this about this topic. The collection of art and descriptions provide an in-depth look at the origins of the art and the creatures within them. If you have an interest in the Japanese Yokai, this would be of interest to you. The book does make clear that the animals have Chinese origins, though the text is in Japanese. If you have an art collection that needs more Asian representation, I would choose this book. Also, the reproductions of the works are done in great quality, revealing the texture of the surfaces they are rendered on.
I got a lot more than I bargained for with this title. I was expecting a coffee book filled with pictures of legendary, mythical and/ or beautiful creatures but this book was so much more. Pages are decorated with works of art including sketchings, paintings, photographs of vases, cuttings. The choice of canvas has not been discriminated against. Some of the pictures are rather vibrant whilst others are duller. That said, they are all very detailed. The book provides long descriptions of meaning and facts behind the works and the animals themselves so is quite the education. I like that it is written in Chinese characters and translated into English within the same text that wrap around the illustrations in a decorative fashion. This book earns a 5/5 for beauty, descri[tion, educational element, the layout, everything. It's an interesting look and read for lovers of all things from the orient, animals and art.
4.5 stars Gorgeous art, detailed & informative context, well researched. I’d love to own a print copy of this! [What I liked:] •I’m glad this is a bilingual, side-by-side edition in English & Japanese. I read Japanese, & it enriched my reading experience to have the text in both. •The visual presentation of this book is very appealing. The layouts are varied & easy to peruse. I really appreciate how the art is shown—both the full pieces of art so you can get the full context & composition, & closeups of the animals on a white background so you can see the details of the animal itself. •There’s a nice variety of art included: paintings, garments, tomb murals, religious art, manuscript illustrations, sculpture, household objects like combs & mirrors & vessels, etc. Different eras & countries are represented. Info on the arts’ provenances are documented, including artist details. •The art is absolutely gorgeous, striking & in hi-res full color. The variety & number of examples, from the realistic to the grotesque & fantastical, are excellent. •I learned a lot from the accompanying text. History, cultural context, evolutions in philosophy, etc. are included in a nice amount of detail but not too much to be overwhelming or dry. The emphasis is still on the art. [What I didn’t like as much:] •Some of the pictures are on both sides of a page spread, on the crease. It works fine for a physical copy, but reading an ebook version with vertical page-by-page layout kinda breaks up the visuals when the pictures on two pages. [I received an ARC ebook copy from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. Thank you for the book!]
This book is an amazing collection for pictures showcasing Chinese and Japanese ancient art. Each picture has descriptions of what is is and where you can find them in various museums. It is also wrote in English and Chinese. Not only does it explain about the artist but also explains how the animals were brought over and when. Also explains each animals place within their culture. It reads really well and you will learn so much about Chinese culture and history. I will definitely be buying this book and my friend also loves it just as much as I do. Much praise to the author and thank you for producing such a fantastic jam packed beautifully illustrated book. Already posted on goodreads
Very informative and interesting! Beautiful illustrations as well. I felt like I learnt a lot of interesting information about other cultures while also being able to enjoy gorgeous illustrations. I am looking forward to picking up a physical copy as I'd love to have this on my shelf and to share with others as well!
Beautiful book with interesting details. I am sure the printed version of this book would be even nicer to flip through, both for the text and for the fascinating images.
This is a lovely book, I'm looking forward to seeing a physical copy when it's released in September! The layout is visually appealing, and the art, of course, is just beautiful. The text is so interesting! I learned so much history, culture, and mythology, which was a nice bonus- I was expecting lots of photos with just a bit of text to go along. While I can't read the Japanese text, it's wonderful to see it there alongside the English translation. This is a must for anyone interested in East Asian art, history, culture, and mythology! #AuspiciousAnimalsTheArtofGoodOmens #NetGalley
Thanks to Netgalley and Media Do International, Inc., for access to this arc. This wonderful book covers far more than imaginary or mythic creatures – though those are certainly here in abundance. In addition to those creatures such as dragons, phoenixes, and Qilins, there are animals considered to be exotic to China and Japan such as camels. lions, and originally peacocks that also came to have special meaning to the people of these countries. The original Japanese text is included along with English translations that describe what you’re seeing. Scrolls, paintings, wood items, textiles, chests, and even the rock walls of a burial tomb – the images range from late 7th- early 8th century through to the late nineteenth century. Parts of some images are enlarged and or isolated to show more detail. I found this to be an Asian art lover’s dream book. As of right now, it’s only listed as a paperback book but given the spread of some images across two pages, I have my doubts that digital copies would do the photography and images justice. I’m contemplating dropping the $40 it will cost to get my own copy. It is well worth spending time soaking up and marveling at the creative abilities of the artists. A-