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The Primitive Masks and Idols - Tarō Okamoto


The Primitive Masks and Idols. 
First edition. Quarto. 132pp colour plates + 42pp appendix. Hardbound volume in cloth-covered boards with glossy colour-illustrated dust jacket housed in a slipcase and box with obi. Japanese and English texts. Asahi Shinbunsha 1970.
The obi on the outer box is somewhat torn. The publication itself is fresh and bright. 

An attractive reference book introducing masks and idols exhibited at the 1970 Osaka Expo.  The collection of images is wide-ranging from idols of New Guinea, stage masks of Korea,  devil masks of Nepal, dancing masks of Romania and head ornaments from the Ivory Coast are shown in striking coloured plates.

The book is edited by avant-garde artist Tarō Okamoto, who designed the Tower of the Sun building that became the symbol of Osaka's Expo. Okamoto trained as a painter in Japan but also travelled to Paris to attend lectures in aesthetics at the Sorbonne eventually developing an interest in ethnology and studying under Marcel Mauss as well as participating in Georges Bataille's Acéphale society. Okamoto contributes an essay at the end of the book explaining the ethnological mission of the Expo. A highly unusual reference book on the subject. 

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