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Art of Japan


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Art of Imperial Japan (Heian and Tokugawa)

Published in: Art & Photos

Art of Japan

  1. 1. The ART OF JAPAN
  2. 2. Fast Facts • Japan, Nippon, Nippon-koku, Nihon-koku • Population (2014 estimate): 126,434,964 • Per capita income: $37,683 • Economy GDP: $4.770 trillion (3rd) • Ethnic groups: 98.5% Japanese, 0.5% Korean, 0.4% Chinese, 0.6% other Imperial Seal
  3. 3. Fast Facts • Total land area: 377,944 sq km (62nd) • Government: • Emperor Akihito • Unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy • Prime Minister Shinzo Abe •
  4. 4. Fast Facts His Imperial Majesty the Emperor His Imperial Majesty Born 1933 Shinzō Abe with Xi Jinping Born 1954
  5. 5. Fast Facts
  6. 6. Trivia • Japan's literacy rate is almost 100%. • Sumo is Japan's national sport, although baseball is also very popular. • On average there are around 1,500 earthquakes every year in Japan. • Average life expectancy in Japan is one of the highest in the world. Japanese people live an average of 4 years longer than Americans. • Japan is the largest automobile producer in the world. • Tsukiji market in Tokyo is the world's largest fish market. Tuna auction
  7. 7. Trivia • The first novel, The Tale of Genji, was written in 1007 by a Japanese noble woman, Murasaki Shikibu. • Raised floors help indicate when to take off shoes or slippers. At the entrance to a home in Japan, the floor will usually be raised about 6 inches indicating you should take off your shoes and put on slippers.
  8. 8. Trivia • Although whaling is banned by the IWC, Japan still hunts whales under the premise of research. The harvested whale meat ends up in restaurants and supermarkets. • Ramen noodles are a popular food in Japan and it is widely believed extensive training is required to make a delicious soup broth. This is the subject of the movies Tampopo (1985) and The Ramen Girl (2008). Ramen
  9. 9. Trivia • Geisha means "person of the arts" and the first geisha were actually men. • It was customary in ancient Japan for women to blacken their teeth with dye as white teeth were considered ugly. This practice persisted until the late 1800's. The American style smile (big, wide, and white) would have been seen as "exposing too much bone". • In addition to a "boneless smile", small eyes, a round puffy face, and plump body were considered attractive features, especially during the Heian period.
  10. 10. Introduction • Key Points: • Japan and Korea have been linked in many ways for more than 2,000 years. • Korea became part of the Chinese Han empire in 1081 BCE and transmitted elements of pre-Buddhist Chinese culture to Japan. • Included in this cultural transfer are: weaving, bronze casting, working on potter’s wheel, rice cultivation. • Also included: Chinese system of writing, Confucianist philosophy, Buddhism.
  11. 11. Introduction • For centuries, these learnings trickled into Japan and totally transformed Japanese culture when Koreans began sending Buddhist art and envoys to the Japanese imperial court in 552 CE. • The emperors and Japanese people followed an ancient, native set of beliefs known today as Shinto. It has no powerful gods in which the emperors could associate. It also did not promise a glorious afterlife for its faithful. • For the next 3 centuries, most of the artists and architects in Japan were Koreans or Japanese trained by Koreans working in Buddhist styles derived in China.
  12. 12. Introduction • Japanese artists produced thin, delicate, flowing lines in the international Buddhist-Asian style out of China. • Some of the best surviving examples of Chinese architecture from this period may be seen in Japan. • At one point in their history, the Japanese felt a need to separate their art and culture from foreign roots. • In the 9th century, they closed the borders of their islands to the outside world. • They developed new Japanese forms of Buddhism, courtly styles of art, and created a new social order.
  13. 13. Introduction • The emperors lost of their political powers to the shoguns, secular leaders who stood at the apex of a complex feudal society. • In this regard, many of the new art forms were designed for the nonroyal, secular tastes of the shogun, their subordinates and the military. • Japan closed its doors to the outside world again in the mid- 17th century which intensified the Japanese qualities of their arts.
  14. 14. Introduction • In the mid-19th century, Japan opened up again to visitors (Americans and Europeans included) and made an effort to incorporate elements of the outside world while carefully preserving their ancient traditions. • Their art strongly reflects their great reverence for the emperor and strong ties to Buddhism and Shintoism. • Japanese art owes much to China and Korea, but in the end, it has been her ability to adapt and personalize all that came to its shores that has made Japanese art an enduring and magnificent expression of culture.
  15. 15. Timeline • Jomon Period, 12,000/10,500 – 300 BCE • Yayoi Period, 300 BCE – 300 CE • Kofun Period, 300 – 710 • Korea: The Three Kingdoms period, 57 BCE – 688 CE • Asuka Period, 552 – 645 • Hakuno Period, 645 -710 • Nara Period, 710 – 794 • Heian Period, 794 – 1185 • Korea: Koryo, 918 – 1392 • Kamakura, 1185 - 1333
  16. 16. Introduction • Muromachi (Ashikaga) Period, 1392 – 1573 --Franics Xavier arrives in Japan (1549) • Momoyama Period, 1573 – 1615 • Tokugawa Period (Edo), 1615 – 1868 • Meiji Restoration, 1868 – 1912 • The modern period: from 1912 --World War II in Japan: 1941 -45 --Occupied Japan: 1945 – 52 --The Gutai Group: 1945 -72
  17. 17. Heian (794-1185) • Emperor Kammu (ruled 781-806) moved capital from Narra north to Heiankyo (Kyoto) • Early Heian • Late Heian, also known as Fujiwara, after the ruling clan that came to power in the 9th century • In Kyoto, emperor became more independent from Buddhist monks and Confucian authorities of Nara • In 838, Japan closed its doors from the Chinese and developed native forms of art and culture. Emperor Kammu, 737-806 50th Emperor of Japan
  18. 18. Heian (794-1185) • New Buddhist reform movements surfaced among artistocrats in Kyoto • New Sects developed from Esoteric Buddhism of India, Nepal and Tibel • These are Tendai (origins in China) and Shingon (origins in Japan) sects (Mikkyo Buddhism) • This paved the growth of Buddhism in Japan • In both, universal Buddha (Dainichi or Great Sun) presides a colorful set of gods. • Mandala: spiritual symbol of Buddhism and Hinduism, aids in meditation • Mandara: Japanese Taizokai (Womb World) mandala, second half of 9th century. Hanging scroll, color on silk. The center square represents the young stage of Vairocana Buddha.
  19. 19. Heian (794-1185) • Esoteric Buddhist Art • Red Fudo (Fudo, the Immovable) • The terrifying deity is seated on a rock before a wall of flames and holds a dragon sword symbolizing lightning • He and one of his attendants have fangs and intense, glaring and beady eyes • Expressive deity contrasted with beautiful jewelry Red Fudo, Early Heian Period, 794-897, Color on silk, 61.5 inches (h), Myo-o-in, Koyasan, Wakayama prefecture
  20. 20. Heian (794-1185) • Pure Land Buddhism (Jodo in Japanese), broad branch of Mahayana Buddhism • One of the most widely practised in the East today • Became popular among the masses in the late Heian period • Less complex and iconographic than Esoteric Buddhism • In Jodo, the Amida (Amitabha, Sanskrit) Buddha ruled over a pure land (the regal Western Paradise) • Spread by traveling evangelists • To enter paradise, one just need to chant Namu Amida Butsu (Hail to Amida Buddha) Mount Lu, China, where the Chinese Pure Land tradition started by Huiyuan. Spread to Japan in the 10th century
  21. 21. Heian (794-1185) • Raigo – new type of Jodo image • Shows a more welcoming Buddha, gracious and approachable • In repose with smooth-featured Buddha • Contrasted with the rich decorative flames behind him • Oriented toward the viewer, to reassure and welcome a dying soul • Hollowed blocks joined by glues and pegs Amida Figure by Jocho, 1053, gilded wood, Height 11”. Interior of Ho-o-do (Phoenix Hall of Byodo-in.
  22. 22. Heian (794-1185) • Housed in an 11th century structure: Ho-o-do (Phoenix Hall) on a semi-detached island with a reflecting pool in the Byodo-in complex near Kyoto • Phoenix Hall –took its name from the bronze phoenixes on its roof (symbols of the empress) • And the dramatic upswept lines of the roof • Reflected on the pond • Pond, is shaped like the Sanskrit letter A (symbol of Amida Buddha) representing the great waters in the Western Paradise where Amida Buddha welcomes the newly arriving souls of the faithful (reborn within lotus buds).
  23. 23. Heian (794-1185) Ho-o-do (Phoenix Hall), Byodo-in, Uji. Late Heian period, 11th century. A World Heritage Site. Inset: Northern Phoenix, replica of original found Inside the museum.
  24. 24. Heian (794-1185) • Literature, calligraphy, painting • Chinese was the official language of scholarship in Korea and Heian Japan until the 19th century. • For other writings such as poems, the Japanese started using their own language • They created syllabaries (systems of writing in which a sign stands for a syllable) using traditional Chinese-style brushstrokes to create their Japanese characters • Katakana: formal and angular script for official documents • Hiragana: very graceful and cursive script for personal and literary use
  25. 25. Heian (794-1185) • Like the Chinese, read in columns, from top to bottom, right to left
  26. 26. Heian (794-1185)
  27. 27. Heian (794-1185) • Some Heian courtiers had much free time due to little imperial administrative duties (because of a politically weak emperor) • Developed refined aesthetics • Spent time playing koto, perfecting calligraphy, writing tankas (31 syllable poems) • These musicians and writers included Lady Murasaki, who wrote the Genji Monogatari (Romantic Tale) Murasaki Shikibu depicted in c. 1765 ink and color nishiki-e (woodblock printing) by Komatsuken
  28. 28. Heian (794-1185) • The story line follows the actions and inner psychological life of Genji, the Shining Prince, who tries to retain support of the powerful while indulging in numerous affairs, and Kiritsubo, his favorite concubine. • Most of the stories take place in the shaded, cloistered atmosphere of the shinden (Heian period country home with a central hall, smaller buildings, a network of covered walkways) • Painted in the Yamato-e (Japanese style) (from Yamato plain on which Nara is built) • The emakimono (hand scroll) was painted with ink and water-based colors on paper made from the inner bark of mulberry tree.
  29. 29. Heian (794-1185) First illustration to the Azumaya chapter of The Tale of Genji. Late Heian Period, 12th century. Hand scroll, ink and color on paper, Height 8.5 inches. Tokugawa Museum, Nagoya.
  30. 30. Heian (794-1185) • What do we see: • Viewed segment by segment as unrolled, from right to left. • Sections of Lady Murasaki’s text alternate with painted episodes from the novel. • Scenes are pictured from bird’s eye view, as if the shinden had no roof. • One maid reads to entertain Nakanokimi (a gorgeous country girl and lesser wife of high ranking noble) while another combs her perfectly washed hair. • She tries to secure a high position in society through her role as a lady of the court. • Her half sister, Ukifume, looks at a picture scroll.
  31. 31. Heian (794-1185) • Style: women are shown as flat patterns of richly decorated drapery. They have stylized faces consisting of minimal lines for eyebrows, eyes and mouths. • Emotions are suggested symbolically through colors, plant types, and composition. • The oblique presentation reflects the enclosed and restrictive lifestyle of the women of the court at that time. (formalized court etiquette) • The viewer looks at the private world of court life from aside with a certain polite detachment. • By about 1180, the refined courtly world of Fujiwara came to a close as they lost control to the powerful feuding clans (Genpei Civil War, 1180-85).
  32. 32. Kamakura (1185-1333) • At the conclusion of the war, the emperor gave Yoritomo (1147-99) of the Minamoto clan in Kamakura the title of Seii-tai Shogun (Barbarian-quelling General) • Until 1868, a long series of military rulers would operate under such title. • Kyoto –retained its ceremonial status • Kamakura –where real power resided (south of Edo or present Tokyo) • Kamakura rulers attempted to bring order to Japanese society and rejected the refined aesthetics of Fujiwara times • Gave way to novels about heroic warriors, feuding clans and violent deaths
  33. 33. Kamakura (1185-1333) Minamoto no Yoritomo (源頼朝?, May 9, 1147 – February 9, 1199) was the founder and the first shogun of the Kamakura Shogunate of Japan. He ruled from 1192 until 1199. Shogun –Military Pacifier of the East A 12th century title under which 3 dynasties of military rulers of Japan operated until 1868.
  34. 34. Kamakura (1185-1333) • Night Attack on the Shanjo Palace • Best demonstrates the changes that took place at the beginning of the Kamakura period • The scroll, (read from right to left) is from a novel about the Heiji insurrection near the end of the Fujiwara period • Done in Yamato-e style to express more robust sentiments of the Kamakura warrior society. • Glorification of military force, action and destruction is in contrast with the serene, philosophical paintings by the literati painters in China at this time • In contrast also to the refinement in the court as shown by Lady Murasaki’s novel
  35. 35. Kamakura (1185-1333) Night Attack on the Shanjo Palace (section), hand scroll. Kamakura period, Late 13th century. Ink and colors on paper, height 16.25 inches. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Use of fast flowing lines have captured the drama of one of the fire storms that destroyed most of the Japanese and Chinese buildings at of this period
  36. 36. Kamakura (1185-1333) • Shoguns –ruled Japan with the support of the warrior nobles, military commander often appointed by the emperor • Warrior nobles: • 1) daimyo (great names) • 2) bushi (samurai swordsmen) • Daimyo – commanded the samurai, powerful feudal lords in pre-modern Japan (dai, large, myo, private land) • Samurai–well-disciplined and trained to endure physical pain and lack of sensual pleasures • Ethics of samurai, seppuku (hara-kiri)
  37. 37. Kamakura (1185-1333)
  38. 38. Kamakura (1185-1333) • Kamakuran leaders –commissioned artists to produce realistic portraits • Also narrative art forms to highlight their military and political achievements • Portriat of Uesugi Shigefusa • Reflects the values of ancestor worship with the philosophy of discipline and meditation • These shaped the militaristic character of the 1300s as seen in this sculpture • Rigidly frontal • His ballooned courtly regalia reflects his status in feudal society Portrait of Uesugi Shigefusa. Kamakura Period. 14th century. Painted wood, 27.5 inches (h). Meigetsu-in, Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture.
  39. 39. Kamakura (1185-1333) • Carved and installed in a family shrine a century after Shigefusa’s death • May not be physically accurate but it captures the spirit of a daimyo to whom many samurai dedicated their lives.
  40. 40. Kamakura (1185-1333) • Kongo Rikishi • A work that conveys the growing preference for realism • Carved by Unkei (1163-1223), the most famous sculptor of the day • Carved many highly realistic painted wooden portrait statues of priests with inlaid crystal eyes. • One of the pair of wooden guardians for the Great South Gate of the Todai-ji temple compound in Nara Kongo Rikishi. South gate of Todai-ji. Nara, Japan. Kamakura period, 1`203. Wood, height 26’6’”
  41. 41. Kamakura (1185-1333) • Reflects the militaristic spirit of the Kamakura society of the shoguns • Made using the joined-wood technique enabling him to extend the arms, legs and draperies of the big figure into space • Suggests movement, especially with the skirt and flowing banner • Animated and energetic quality of gestures • Grotesque and overwrought expression: express the militaristic and single minded attitude of the samurai ready to defend his shogun
  43. 43. END OF PART ONE