The Fascinating World Of Japanese Art
When Commodore Admiral Perry arrived in Japan and the country’s policy of seclusion was ended, the Japanese art of woodblock prints were being sold in the streets of the capital. These woodblock prints, or ukiyo-e were fascinating to the westerners, and soon many were taken back to Europe. For the next few decades, Japanese art would have a huge influence on the artists of Europe and America.
Painting is the dominant art form of traditional Japanese art. Since Japan was secluded from the rest of the world for so long, it was able, to develop its own unique style free from foreign influence. These ukiyo-e prints which would fascinate westerners, depicted the “floating world” of the Edo Period. This idea of the floating world originally came from Buddhism, which holds that life is an illusion and all things are transient, and we must therefore free ourselves from desire and earthly joys. However, in the Japan of this time, it was reinterpreted to mean that we must enjoy earthly pleasure while we can, before it’s all over.
Another form of Japanese art which is kept alive today is traditional calligraphy, or shodo. Kids practice shodo in elementary school and junior high school. The writing of the characters itself is considered an art form, and good brushstroke technique is something to be admired.
Japanese sculpture also is quite impressive. Most of the traditional sculpture involves religious themes. Japan was the last stop on the Silk Road’s transmission of art from India. Most sculpture involves images of the Buddha.
Japan had a tradition of ceramics long before most civilizations had developed the technology. Some of the oldest ceramic artifacts in the world have been found in Japan. This is the jomon pottery, well known to anthropologists.
In the 20th century, modern art has flourished in Japan. As western ideas have filtered into Japan they have had their influence on Japanese art. Like everything else it imports from the rest of the world, Japan has taken those ideas and fused them with its own, creating something entirely new. New art forms such as multi-media and performance art are given a uniquely Japanese twist.
For more information on Japanese art and culture, check out this website: http://www.zeroland.co.nz/japan.html
[tags]japanese art, art, japan [/tags]