Art Therapy in Asia; to the bone or wrapped in silk

Art Therapy in Asia; to the bone or wrapped in silk

Edited by Debra Kalmanowitz, Jordan S. Potash and Siu Mei Chan

Book review by Tristan Chan

For the past 2 decades, art therapy has blossomed vividly and differently in various Asian countries. Diversity in cultures and races cultivated an embracing environment for creativity transformation in different Asian regions. The book Art Therapy in Asia; to the bone or wrapped in silk, has demonstrated how historical, religious, cultural elements, geographic influences, and ancestral traditions shape the development of art therapy in different parts of Asia. 

It is extremely difficult to edit a book with ideas came from more than 10 countries with completely different stages of development and the use of different forms of creative arts. The merging chemistry of western and eastern art therapy were compared in different articles. Surprisingly the structure of the book is very clear and well-organised with some commonly shared core Asian values including Health, Collectivism, Spirituality, Art traditions, Art Models, and Contemporary issues. These values are significantly influential of art therapy development in different parts of Asia. 

Embedded Asian values in different countries. 22 articles in this book offer a glance of diverse characteristics of art therapy in Asia. Visual art might not be the main modalities of arts in their art therapy practices. Nevertheless, I am particularly interested in the integration of spirituality which depicted the interrelationship between values of Buddhism and art therapy principles. 

Art Therapy in Asia is an excellent summary of how western art therapy theory transforms and embraces eastern traditions and philosophy. The book is definitely the first of its kind for anyone who is interested in knowing how does art therapy formed and works in Asia. 

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