Encyclopedia of Flowers IV
Makoto Azuma (flower design) & Shunsuke Shiinoki (photography), Kenya Hara (book design)
The fourth book featuring works by master Japanese flower artist and botanical sculptor Makoto Azuma, this edition adds five new series to the ones established in previous editions: Earth, Horizon, Ambiguity, Torus, and Matrix. Filled with Shunsuke Shiinoki’s breathtaking photographs of flowers and botanical displays, the book celebrates nature’s diversity and beauty, as well as the poignant, temporal notion of a plant in bloom. It gives an overview of Azuma’s numerous experiments in presentation and new compositions, with hopes that flowers might be seen as a kind of prayer that goes beyond national and religious boundaries, transcending sex, race, and ethnicity.
“Offering” is a central focus of the new volume. Encyclopedia of Flowers I sought to immortalize blooms on paper, like thousands of bouquets gathered onto a single bookshelf. Volume II, themed on “flowers and our times,” proudly proclaimed Azuma and Shiinoki’s lifelong commitment to taking on new challenges and capturing the shifting aesthetics of our age through the set medium of flowers; and volume III, themed on “flowers and the Earth,” took readers across the continents and beyond into space. In volume IV, the artists’ far-flung journey across time and space continues as they turn back to the origins of the connection between humans and flowers through an exploration of the act of offering flowers. The practice of presenting blooms to others is one that has endured unbroken since time immemorial and that remains sacred to all hearts regardless of nationality, ethnicity, or faith. This collection, then, is itself an offering—an offering of flowers from the authors to all the people of the world.