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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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


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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


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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



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From “Arts of Japan”

Professor McKelway

Fall, 2008

How to begin?Comparison: Which is older?


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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


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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


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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


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


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Ōmi

Yamashiro

Naniwa

Inland Sea

Ise

Yamato

Kii

Kinai: The “Home Provinces”

--Yamato (Nara)

--Yamashiro (Kyoto)

--Ōmi (Shiga)

--Naniwa (Osaka)

--Kii (Wakayama)

--Ise (Mie)


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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?


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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


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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?


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

What makes Japanese art unique?

Interest in material


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