Do is a book about the art of Japanese archery, known as kyudo, or the way of the bow. Written in German by Berlin based author Heiko Michael Hartmann, this book is very much in the tradition of Zen in the Art of Archery by Eugen Herrigel, a German philosophy professor who, like artist Veronika Schäpers, lived in Japan for several years.  Georges Braque made a livres d’artiste from this earlier work, called Le Tir à l’Arc, in 1960.

Here, Hartmann’s text focuses on both the physical and spiritual facets of kyudo, and Schäpers design of this volume features many references to Japanese notions of the art of archery. The eight stages of shooting recognized in kyudo, such as footing, correcting the posture, and raising the bow, inspired Schäpers to divide the book into eight corresponding sections. The text is accompanied by abstract illustrations in various colors created by cutting up and printing strips of bamboo, which is the material used to craft the unique asymmetrical Japanese bow (the yumi).

To reflect this asymmetry, Schäpers designed Do in an oblong format that uses a 2:3 proportion in the folding of its sections, resulting in pages of various widths. Do is printed on brown katajigami paper, normally used to create stencils for fabric, which is dyed and smoked in a process that gives the paper a unique surface texture and a wood-like odor. The text in this book is Berthold Akzidenz Grotesk Medium Extended printed by letterpress.

Do is sewn through a strip of bamboo at the spine, and features boards covered in dark blue mitsumata paper printed with a bamboo pattern. Both covers are jointed in a 2:3 proportion with green mitsumata paper accenting the joints. The volume is protected by a slipcase covered in green mitsumata paper on the edges and brown katajigami paper on the boards and tied with a bowstring.

This book was published in an edition of 35 Arabic and 10 Roman numbered copies. This is copy number 25, and it is signed by the author and the artist at the colophon.

 

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