Good Example OF Asian Art Research Paper
Asian art pieces have been exciting and mystifying art loves for centuries. With the finely crafted paintings and woodblock carvings to the delicately shaped sculptures of old, the various forms of Asian art adopted over many regions have managed to take on a life of their own. No other place in the world has the same feeling or texture as many of the Asian art pieces found in China, Japan, Korea, Tibet, and many other places. One of the most compelling forms of Asian art is known as Ukiyo-e art, which refers to printing art on a wooden block. This form of art was specifically popular in Japanese art, and often used to show important events in history. It has been popular in Asian, or Japanese, culture since the 19th century, with each work being more interesting and inspiring than the last.
Wooden block art has been known in the Asian region since at least 1803, according to Minglu Gao’s, “Total Modernity and the Avant-Garde in Twentieth Century Art .” One of the most famous wooden block art paintings is called The Great Wave of Kanagawa, or Kanagawa Oki Nama Ura . The work is Japanese in origin, created by Japanese artist, Hokusai . It is an intricate depiction of an enormous wave threatening boats in Kanawaga’s harbor. Typically, the wave is considered a typhoon wave, which is a popular threat to Japan’s coat. However, the work’s Japanese name “Oki Nami” suggests it is a wave from the open ocean, because that is the literal translation . It features a small mountain in the background, and vibrant colors that show a calming pallet of blues, greys, and yellows in contrasts with the raging ocean. The colors are typical of Japanese, as well as Asian art in general. The wooden block print is one of the most widely recognizable in the world.
Works such as The Great Wave of Kanagawa are similar to other works of art such as Hara-Juku, a block art painting by Utagawa Hiroshige, another Japanese artist . The block print is a beautiful depiction of a small town on the coast of Surugu Bay. It shows vast rice fields and mountains in the distance, while traders carry goods in the foregrounds. Hara-Juku holds a significant place in Japanese culture because it was also the thirteenth of fifty-three stations along the Tokaido road . The Tokaido is known as one of several important trade routes leading to Kyoto during the Edo period of the country’s history. They were essential to the country’s trade industry, as well as the population’s survival. The block’s depiction of mountains along the route, fields of rice, and what appear to be traveling traders carrying goods are more than just a printing, but a symbol of traders building Japan from the agrarian country it once was to the industrialized nation it is today . Art began to imitate life in this simple piece.
Something significant and fascinating, when studying similar works from particular regions of the world, is deciding which piece inspired which. The Great Wave of Kanagawa is almost comical in its print, with a simple pallet existing of no more than seven to ten colors . Its regional name suggests the wave is from the open sea rather than typhoon waves, allowing for little interpretation while still showing the power nature held over man; a boat can be seen thrashing in the open waves . Hara-Juku, however, looks slightly more refined in style. The line work is more delicate and while nature is still present, there is more emphasis on how man had mastered it than how nature lorded over man. For example, in Wave, the wave is taking its toll on boats. Meanwhile, in Hara-Juku, the concept of the block print was to define a significant stop along the Takaido road. A large mountain and many thick rice fields can be seen in the background and yet, the traveling traders press on with their goods, seemingly unphased by the elements. The only remaining similarities are the simple pallets and the presence of nature. These differences suggest that The Great Wave of Kanagawa, by Hokusai, came before Hiroshige’s Hara-Juku, due to the differing representations in man’s role toward nature, as well as nature’s role toward man. The concept is further backed by the fact that Wave is speculated to have been made between 1824 and 1835, while Hara-Juku’s conception is speculated at 1833 to 1835 . Though they were not created decades or centuries a part, it is possible that the former inspired the latter for several reasons. Firstly, they are both block prints. Secondly, they both concern nature, and the evolution of the Japanese’s attitude toward nature. Wave’s depiction shows fear and submission while Hara-Juku’s attitude shows dominance and assertion. The sketching is in the same style, while Hara-Juku’s lines are more refined, which may have come with more refined tools or methods that Hokusai did not have at the time Wave was completed.
In sum, there are many interesting and exciting types of Asian art dating back several centuries. Sculptures, paintings, and several other forms of art all have their place in Asian artistic archives. A particularly interesting form of Asian art is block printing. One of the most well-known block prints, as well as one of the most well recognized artistic sights is The Great Wave of Kanagawa. Evidently after this work of art came Hara-Juku. Both have simple pallets, though they show a simple evolution in how Japanese culture looked at nature from the shore, versus how they viewed it traveling on well-known roads.
Abe, Stanley K. "Archives of Asian Art." Asian and Pacific Studies (2012): 56-64. Article.
Bruun, Ole and Arne Kalland. Asian Perceptions of Nature: A Critical Approach. London: Routledge, 2014. Book.
Gao, Minglu. Total Modernity and the Avant-Garde in Twentieth-Century Chinese Art. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2012. Book.
Nietupski, Paul K. and Joan O'Mara. Reading Asian Art and Artifacts: Windows to Asia on American College Campuses. Bethlehem: Lehigh University Press, 2011. Book.
Stanhope, Zara and Michelle Antoinette. "The World and World–Making in Art: Connectivities and Differences." World Art (2012): 167-171. Article.
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