Keys to Understanding the Arts of Japan
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Keys to Understanding the Arts of Japan Matthew McKelway, Atsumi Associate Professor of Japanese Art, Columbia University Where to begin? Textbooks, museums, on-line resources Penelope Mason, History of Japanese Art Joan Stanley-Baker, Japanese Art

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Keys to Understanding the Arts of Japan Matthew McKelway, Atsumi Associate Professor of Japanese Art, Columbia University

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Keys to Understanding the Arts of Japan

Matthew McKelway, Atsumi Associate Professor of Japanese Art, Columbia University


Where to begin?Textbooks, museums, on-line resources

Penelope Mason, History of Japanese Art

Joan Stanley-Baker, Japanese Art

Stephen Addiss and Audrey Seo, How to Look at Japanese Art

Sherman Lee, A History of Far Eastern Art


Where to begin?MuseumsMuseum of Fine Arts, BostonCleveland Museum of ArtFreer Gallery of Art/Sackler MuseumMetropolitan Museum of ArtDetroit Institute of ArtMinneapolis Institute of ArtNelson-Atkins MuseumIndianapolis Museum of ArtArt Institute of ChicagoKimbell Art Museum (Fort Worth)Denver Art MuseumNew Orleans Museum of ArtRichmond Art MuseumAckland Museum (UNC)Seattle Art MuseumAsian Art Museum (SF)LA County Museum


Where to begin?On-Line Resourceswww.mfa.org : nearly complete online database for Japanese artwww.metmuseum.org/toah/: Timeline of Art HistoryArtstor: www.artstor.orgwww.tnm.go.jp/en/gallery/index.html: Tokyo National Museum highlights


How to begin?


From “Arts of Japan”

Professor McKelway

Fall, 2008

How to begin?Comparison: Which is older?


From “Arts of Japan”

Professor McKelway

Fall, 2008

How to begin?Comparison: Which is more “realistic”?

Unkei, Muchaku, 1212

Statue of George Washington created by Horatio Greenough


How to begin?PLACE

The Japanese Archipelago in East Asia

--Proximity to Asian continent

--Location in temperate zone

--Location in “Ring of Fire”

--Geographic origins of the Japanese


Russia

Hokkaidō

China

Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

Sea of Japan

Republic of Korea

Honshū

The Japanese Archipelago--Four major islands--Outer islands--proximity to “Black Current” 黒潮--climate

Shikoku

Kyūshū

Pacific Ocean

Okinawa


Historical Japan--San’in / San’yō--West / East--Sea routes, land transportation


Ōmi

Yamashiro

Naniwa

Inland Sea

Ise

Yamato

Kii

Kinai: The “Home Provinces”

--Yamato (Nara)

--Yamashiro (Kyoto)

--Ōmi (Shiga)

--Naniwa (Osaka)

--Kii (Wakayama)

--Ise (Mie)


General questions / issues:

What makes Japanese art unique?

What was it about Japanese art that made it so interesting to Europeans?

How does the artist view his/her past?

What is the relationship between artist and patron?


Transhistorical themes to think about:

Relationships between religious and secular

Relationships between the indigenous and the imported

Relationships between the natural and the artificial

Continuity of place; pictures of famous places -- meisho / meisho-e


TIME: Periodization(s) of Japanese ArtPrehistoricJōmon: ca. 10,500 B.C. - ca. 300 B.C.Yayoi: ca. 300 B.C. - ca. A.D. 300Kofun: ca. A.D. 300 – 700Historical periods: AncientAsuka-Hakuhô ca. 550-710Nara 710-784Heian 794-1185MedievalKamakura 1185-1336Muromachi 1336-1568Early ModernMomoyama 1568-1615Edo 1603-1868ModernMeiji 1868-1912Taishô 1912-1924Shôwa 1925-1989Heisei 1989-present

  • What makes each period distinct

  • What are the justifications or rationale behind the above periodization?

  • How do we characterize the artistic legacy of early Japan?


Middle Jōmon vessel. 46.5 cm. Excav. Sasayama, Niigata Pref.

What makes Japanese art unique?

Interest in material


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