Actual Japanese Workwear
Check out these absolutely stunning Japanese firemen coats. Known as Hanten coats, these were worn by Japanese firefighters in the 19th century. At the time, the technology to spray water at a high-enough pressure hadn’t been invented yet, so Japanese men had to fight fires by creating firebreaks downwind. Doing so, however, put them in danger of catching on fire themselves, as hot embers can travel up to a mile. To prevent that, they were continually doused with water, so that the thick and heavy coats would be more fire resistant.
The symbols and designs you see are for several things. Some are just for decoration, of course, while some signal the fire crew that the wearer belonged to. Others are lucky symbols, while some might refer to a heroic story or myth, encouraging the wearer to be courageous and strong.
You can see these coats in person (along with many other awesome things) at Shibui, a shop in New York City for Japanese antiques and collectibles. They’re moving at the end of September and are having a sale right now to lighten their load. Select items are discounted by up to 50%, including lots of boro fabrics, which is a kind of heavily patched and mended Japanese textile. You can see examples of boro here.
For those of us outside of NYC, Shibui has a Google+ page you can admire (they’ll take phone orders, if you’re interested). There’s also a book titled Haten and Happi, which is all about traditional Japanese work coats.
[Editor’s Note: This is our 1,000th post here on Tumblr and we just passed 80,000 followers a few minutes ago. That’s two milestones in an hour! We also became a spotlight art blog last week! Thanks so much for following, you’re amazing. That is all.]
A Russian tank manufacturer has unveiled a new tram design that it plans to start mass-producing in 2015. These beautiful pieces of engineering will hold 190 to 270 passengers and will be able to traverse on even the older, worn out Russian tram tracks.
THE AESTHETICS OF ASYMMETRY
by David Isle
Symmetry is often suggested as a cardinal virtue of aesthetics. Since symmetry is very unlikely to occur at random, its presence suggests skillful execution of a design. When something is asymmetric, it might be unclear if this is a design choice or a failed attempt at symmetry. You might, for instance, be more sure of the structural integrity of a symmetric building than an asymmetric one. Likewise, people judge symmetrical faces to be more attractive, perhaps because they signal genetic fitness.
The canon of Western art shows a reverence for symmetry, often with geometric precision.
“well that’s just, like, your opinion, man.”
Tower of David: the World’s Tallest Slum | Via
The Tower of David is an abandoned unfinished skyscraper in the center of Caracas, the capital city of Venezuela, that is now home to more than 3,000 squatters, who have turned the 45-story skyscraper into the world’s tallest slum.
Construction of the building, originally called “Centro Financiero Confinanzas” and nicknamed the “Tower of David”, after its developer, David Brillembourg, was started in 1990 and was to become a symbol of Caracas’ bright financial future. It is the third highest skyscraper in the country. But a banking crisis brought those plans to an abrupt halt in 1994. The government took control over the building and construction was never completed. The building has no elevators, no installed electricity or running water, no balcony railing and windows and even walls in many places.
In 2007, a group of squatters took over the building, and it quickly gained notoriety as a hotbed of crime and drugs. Despite this, residents have managed to build a comfortable and self sustaining community complete with basic utility services such as electricity and water that reaches all the way up to the 22nd floor. Lifts being absent, residents can use motorcycles to travel up and down the first 10 floors, but must use the stairs for the remaining levels. Inside the building’s long hallways there are warehouses, clothing stores, beauty parlours, a dentist and day-care centers. Some residents even have cars, parked inside of the building’s parking garage. Some seven hundred families comprising over 3,000 residents live in the tower today.
New Session on Katie .
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