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Japan’s passion for the modern coexists with aesthetic proclivities that favor antiquity and refinement.

One expression of the appreciation for age and beauty is the much-cherished effect known as wabi-sabi, the subject of Andrew Juniper’s well-considered and surprisingly accessible book. The etymology of the expression is revealing: wabi stems from wabishii (lonely, wretched), while sabi touches both sabiru (to age and mature) and sabishii (lonely, inconsolable). The compound suggests a desolate beauty transformed by weathering, the resulting patina of age creating an object or scene of exquisite maturity and taste.

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