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A 13 pages term paper on Influence Of Japanese Arts


               Variety of factors has contributed to the development of Japanese art. Both technologically and aesthetically, it has for many centuries been influenced by Chinese styles and cultural developments, some of which came via Korea. More recently, Western techniques and artistic values have also added their impact.

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Art played a large part in the daily lives of the people. The distinction between craft and high art was not so sharply drawn as in the West. Art was a comprehensive whole that included lacquer, ceramics, paintings, textiles, and much more. The esthetic sensitivity of the Japanese people showed not only in their architecture and masterpieces of sculpture and painting, but in what they wore, in the utensils they use for eating, even in the arrangement of food on a plate, Mrs. Burke wrote (Bridge of Dreams).






The first settlers of Japan, the Jomon people (roughly 10,000 B.C. to 300 B.C.), crafted clay figurines called dogu, many of which represented women. Afterwards, the Yayoi people (approximately 300 B.C. to A.D. 300), whose core was a different immigrant group in the beginning of the era, manufactured copper weapons, bronze bells, and kiln-fired ceramics. Typical artifacts from the Kofun (Tumulus) period (approximately A.D. 300 to A.D. 710) that followed are bronze mirrors, and clay sculptures called haniwa, which were erected outside of tombs.

               Originally, "kimono" was the Japanese word for clothing. But in more recent years, the word has been used to refer specifically to traditional Japanese clothing. Kimonos as we know them today came into being during the Heian period (794-1192).

               During the Nara period (710-794) until then, Japanese people typically wore either ensembles consisting of separate upper and lower garments (trousers or skirts), or one-piece garments. But in the Heian period, a new kimono-making technique was developed. Known as the straight-line-cut method, it involved cutting pieces of fabric in straight lines and sewing them together. With this technique, kimono makers did not have

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to concern themselves with the shape of the wearer's body.

 

Straight-line-cut kimonos offered many advantages. They were easy to fold. They were also suitable for all weather: They could be worn in layers to provide warmth in winter, and kimonos made of breathable fabric such as linen were comfortable in summer. These advantages helped kimonos become part of Japanese people's everyday lives (History of Kimonos).

               Over time, as the practice of wearing kimonos in layers came into fashion, Japanese people began paying attention to how kimonos of different colors looked together, and they developed a heightened sensitivity to color. Typically, color combinations represented either seasonal colors or the political class to which one belonged. It was during this time that what we now think of as traditional Japanese color combinations developed. During the Kamakura period (1192-1338) and the Muromachi period (1338-1573), both men and women wore brightly colored kimonos. Warriors dressed in colors representing their leaders, and sometimes the battlefield was as gaudy as a fashion show.


               Paintings from the period called Kan’ei (1624-1644) depict people from every class of society crowding the entertainment district beside Kyoto’s Kamogawa river. Similar districts existed in Osaka and Edo, where the uninhibited lifestyle of the ukiyo (floating world) transpired, that ultimately came to be glorified by the art genre known as ukiyo-e. This ukiyo-e, which often featured brothel districts and kabuki theatre, gained popularity throughout the country. First produced in the form of paintings, by the early eighteenth century ukiyo-e were most commonly produced as woodblock prints.

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               The samurais of each domain wore identified by the colors and patterns of their "uniforms." They consisted of three parts: a kimono; a sleeveless garment known as a kamishimo worn over the kimono; and a hakama, a trouser-like split skirt. The kamishimo was made of linen, starched to make the shoulders stand out.


               For some Westerners, including the greatest artists in Europe in the late nineteenth century, ukiyo-e was more than merely an exotic art form. Artists such as Edgar Degas and Vincent van Gogh borrowed its stylistic composition, perspectives and use of color. Frequent use of themes from nature, which had been rare in Western art, widened painters’ selection of themes. Émile Gallé, a French artist and glass designer, used Hokusai’s sketches of fish in the decoration of his vases.

               With the advent of the Meiji period (1868-1912) and its policy of Westernization, ukiyo-e, which had always been closely linked to the culture from which it drew its themes and vitality, began to die out quickly.

               During the Meiji period (1868-1912), Government officials and military personnel were required by law to wear Western clothing for official functions. (That law is no longer in effect today.) For ordinary citizens, wearing kimonos on formal occasions were required to use garments decorated with the wearer's family crest, which identified his or her family background (History of Kimonos).

               Today, Japanese people rarely wear kimonos in everyday life, reserving them for such occasions as weddings, funerals, tea ceremonies, or other special events, such as summer festivals.

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               Meanwhile, European painting influenced a growing number of Japanese painters late in the Edo period. Major artists such as Maruyama Okyo, Matsumura Goshun, and Ito Jakuchu combined aspects of Japanese, Chinese, and Western styles.

               Umehara stands out for having brought to his work elements of Japanese style, an innovation reversal that encouraged other Western-style painters in Japan to become more interpretative.

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               The modernizing of Japanese painting continued under the guidance of Yasuda Yukihiko and Kobayashi Kokei. Other painters tried to spread interest in Japanese-style painting by adopting popular themes and giving exhibitions more frequently.

               It was early in the twentieth century that authentic interest in Western-style sculptures gained momentum, when artists returned to Japan from study abroad. Representative of those sculptors was Ogiwara Morie, who introduced the style of Auguste Rodin and became the pioneer in the modernization of Japanese sculpture. Another influential sculptor was Takamura Kotaro who, as an outstanding poet as well, translated Rodin’s views on art.

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               Having traditionally taken their lead from the art of other cultures, Japanese artists are now finding their own expression as original creators and contributors to the world art community. To mention a couple: Okamoto Taro, who published his works at the 1953 São Paulo Biennale and 1954 Venice Biennale, and designed the symbol of the international exposition held in Osaka in 1970, Taiyo no To (Sun Tower); and Ikeda Masuo, who published many printed works full of eroticism and irony, which established his fame world-wide. Ikeda also won the Grand Prix for printmaking at the 1966 Venice Biennale. Additionally, Hirayama Ikuo is highly respected for his pictures depicting Silk Road landscapes filled with fantasy. Iwasaki Chihiro, who painted pictures for children, is widely acclaimed for her portraits of them. Most of her pictures were painted for picture books, and these books are published in more than 10 countries.

               Japanese art began to filter into the West in the nineteenth century before 1854, the official opening of Japan to Western trade after more than two hundred years of self-enforced isolation (Hay). Japanese painting and woodblock prints, in particular, were collected by some painters and influenced the work of many others in the second half of the nineteenth century. Collectors such as Boston's Edward Morse and the great Parisian art dealer Siegfried Bing brought Japanese art objects to the attention of the public in America and France, inspiring the use of Japanese techniques and motifs - paper parasols, cherry blossoms, water lilies, grasses, dragonflies, among others - in metalwork, printmaking, and the decorative arts, including textiles. Japanese patterns for stenciled textiles were also copied and adapted by Westerners. Japanese influence is evident in the pochoir fashion illustrations produced by Paul Iribe and others after about 1910, with their large, flat expanses of color; black outlining; lack of perspective; and other abstract qualities; and is also evident in the kimono-style dresses produced by couturiers in the early 1910s.

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               Woodblock prints were affordable and were produced by transferring an image carved into the surface of a wooden block to a sheet of paper. For traditional Japanese prints, the block consists of cherry wood. Initially, the artist makes a design on ordinary paper, which is then transferred to a special thin, semi-transparent paper, which in turn, is pasted face down on the woodblock. A carver cuts and chisels away the surface of the block, leaving a design formed of raised lines and solid areas. A specialist in printing applies ink to this surface, over which is placed a piece of paper, traditionally made from the inner bark of the mulberry tree (Dee).

               Japanese painting and woodblock prints, in particular, were collected by some painters and influenced the work of many others in the second half of the nineteenth century. Collectors such as Boston's Edward Morse and the great Parisian art dealer Siegfried Bing brought Japanese art objects to the attention of the public in America and France, inspiring the use of Japanese techniques and motifs - paper parasols, cherry blossoms, water lilies, grasses, dragonflies, among others - in metalwork, printmaking, and the decorative arts, including textiles. Japanese patterns for stenciled textiles were also copied and adapted by Westerners. Japanese influence is evident in the pochoir fashion illustrations produced by Paul Iribe and others after about 1910, with their large, flat expanses of color; black outlining; lack of perspective; and other abstract qualities; and is also evident in the kimono-style dresses produced by couturiers in the early 1910s. Among the Tirocchi fabrics is a complex lightweight gold-and-black silk lamé, which has been dyed, discharged, and printed with a polychrome floral design in the Japanese taste. A second textile of shiny brown silk satin has Japanese weeping willows and rippled pools of water in its damask patterning. Several lengths from the Tirocchi shop were actually made in Japan, an interesting reminder of Japan's desire to reach Western markets in this period.

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Japanese 19c Kimono

66" long, 49" across. Mid 19th Century, Late Edo to Early Meiji Era,c 1840-1860. (see photos). Some is fading overall, some small unraveling of embroidery, and wear at shoulders and neck. (blue et blanc)

Japanese 19c Wedding Embroidered Kimono

66" long, 49" across. Mid 19th Century, Late Edo to Early Meiji Era,c 1840-1860.


Japanese Uchikake

Early to mid 1950s

Wedding kimono of silk damask with crane and bamboo motif. Yuzan painting with gold foil surihaku, and lavish gold metallic embroidery. Iridescent red and gold brocade padded hem and lining.


Japanese Kuro Tomesode
1920s or 1930s.

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Woman's black formal kimono with leaf motif. Yuzan painted chirimen silk crepe with surihaku gold foil and gold couched accents.


Japanese Kuro Tomesode

Late 1930s or early 1940s.

Works Cited



Blue et Blanc. Japanese 19c Wedding Embroidered Kimono. Mar 6, 2002

Bridge of Dreams. The Mary Griggs Burke Collection of Japanese Art. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. March 28 to June 25, 2000. Mar 5, 2002

Dee, David. Innovation and Tradition in Japanese Woodblock Prints Curated. Utah Museum of Fine Arts. Mar 6, 2002

Hay, Susan. Modernism in Fabric: Art and the Tirocchi Textiles.Mar 6, 2002

History of Kimonos. Mar 6, 2002

 
 


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