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Asian Art

Japanese Screens and Scrolls
Many artists, such as Impressionist painters
Seated Buddha, Cassatt and Monet, were heavily influenced by
Tang dynasty
Credits Asian Art. Vincent Van Gogh once said…
Bamboo and Rocks,
Yuan dynasty
Credits

“If we study Japanese Art, we see a man who is
undoubtedly wise, philosophic and intelligent,
who spends his time doing what? In studying
the distance between the earth and moon? No.
In studying Bismarck’s policy? No. He studies a
single blade of grass."

Self-portrait Van Gogh Credits
geograph
y
Japan- a nation of islands that
were able to avoid invasion and
develop a homogeneous culture.

The terrain of Japan affected the
kinds of landscapes that were
produced.

Nearby countries, such as China,
affected Japan.

Map of Japan Credits
Religion
How did religion affect
Japanese Art?

*Mood or feeling
*Subject Matter-
illustrating the teachings
of their beliefs

Would you like to hear of example of a tale that would
have been told to to help pass on Buddha’s teachings?
Click here.
The Lion and the
This story is from the book One Hand Clapping and it’s entitled “The Lion and the Tiger.”
tiger
A zoo once had a famous tiger. One day the tiger died. Since it was very expensive to
replace the tiger, the zoo hired a beggar to dress up in a tiger skin during zoo hours, sit in
the cage and pretend to be the tiger. This actually worked quite well. The people believed
the famous tiger was still there, and the beggar had a home.
One day two men began arguing in front of the tiger cage.
“The tiger is the strongest of animal,” said one of the men. “Its roar is the mightiest. It’s
the most ferocious of beasts, and this one is a terrific specimen.”
“Nonsense,” replied the other man. He pointed to the lion in the next cage. “Everyone
knows that the lion is the king of the beasts. When he roars, everyone trembles! And just
look at this one hear- he’s magnificent!”
The men continued to quarrel until finally they persuaded the zookeeper to let the two
animals fight each other to se which was actually the mightiest. They promised to pay the
zookeeper if either animal was killed.
Hearing this, the “tiger” was terrified, but before he could do anything, the cage door
opened and in bounded the lion.
A crowd gathered as the roaring lion furiously chased the tiger all around the cage, finally
pouncing on him. The tiger trembled with fear.
“This is the end,” thought the poor tiger. “I am about to be eaten by a lion.”
But then the lion whispered softly in his ear, “Not to worry. I’m the same as you!”
Religion
What religions can you think of that might
have been prevalent in Asia?
Hinduism Buddhism
Jainis
m
Taoism
Sikhism

Shint
o
Confucianism
Buddhism
This sculpture depicts
Buddha- “Enlightened One”
which means perfect human.

Buddhism- founded in India by
Sidhartha Gautuma.
Zen Buddhism- from China-
the art of meditation.
Seated Buddha, Tang Dynasty
Credits

Would you like to hear a story about a young man
trying to attain Enlightenment? Click
Becoming Buddha
This story is from the book One Hand Clapping and it’s entitled “Becoming
Buddha.” Ma-tsu say in meditation for long periods every day outside his little
hut. His Zen master, Haui-jang, watched him one day and thought, “He will
become a very worthy person. Still, right now he is stuck and needs some
help.”
“Noble one,” he asked, “what are you trying to get by sitting in meditation?”
“I am trying to become a Buddha,” Ma-tsu replied with conviction.
Hearing this, Haui-jang picked up a rough clay tile that had fallen from the
temple roof and began rubbing it against a rock.
“What are you doing, Master?” asked Ma-tsu.
“I am polishing this rough tile to make it a precious jewel,” the master replied.
“How can a roof tile ever become a jewel?” asked Ma-tsu.
“How can you become a Buddha through Zen meditation,” Haui-jamg replied,
“if you weren’t already a Buddha to begin with? Walking standing, lying
down, sitting- who are you in each of these activities? Real Zen is not
confined to sitting. Live Buddhas are not just found in the lotus posture.”
Hearing this, Ma-tsu felt as refreshed as if he had just drunk the most
delicious drink.
Bodhisattva
Boe- dee-saht-vuh

What is a Bodhisattva?

A Bodhisattva is someone who has
stopped one step short of becoming a
Buddha to help other attain
enlightenment. Guanyin (gwan yin) is
the Chinese name of this bodhisattva.

Would you like to hear another tale
by the Zen masters? It’s called
Baby Snake in a Cup. Click here. Head of Guanyin, Bodhisattva of Mercy
Credits
Baby Snake in a Cup
This story if from the book One Hand Clapping and it’s entitled Baby Snake in
a Cup.”
One evening, a man was invited to the home of a friend. As he was about to
drink a cup of tea that was offered to him, he thought he saw a baby snake in
the cup! He did not want to embarrass his hostess, so he gathered all of his
courage and swallowed the tea in one gulp.
When the man returned home later that night, began to feel severe pains in his
stomach. By the next day the pains had grown worse. He consulted several
doctors and tried many cures, but none worked. The man, now seriously ill,
thought he was about to die.
Hearing of his condition, his friend invited him to visit her again. Sitting in the
same place, he accepted another cup of tea. As the sick man lifted his cup to
drink, he suddenly saw the snake again! This time he had to speak up, so he
drew his hostess’s attention to it. Without a word she pointed to the ceiling
above her guest. He looked up. There, just above him, hanging from a beam,
was a length of rope. The sick man realized all at once that what he had
thought was a baby snake was simply the reflection of the rope! The two
friends looked at each other and laughed. The pain of the sick man vanished
instantly and he recovered perfect health.
Compositi
on
Let’s take a closer look at the composition in
the battle scene in this screen painting:

The Battles of Hogen and Heiji, Edo period Credits
Compositi
on
How would you
describe the space
in this painting?

Detail of The Battles of
Hogen and Heiji Credits

Detail of The Battles of Hogen and Heiji
Credits Detail of The Battles of Hogen and Heiji
Credits
Media
What media (materials)
did the artists use to
create this screen
painting?

Ink- permanent. There’s
no correcting or
repainting it.

Ink wash creates an
atmospheric perspective
in the background.
Bamboo and Rocks, Yuan dynasty
Credits
What is Monochrome?

The Old Plum, Edo period Credits

Chinese style Monochrome Monochrome- or
ink paintings were a monochromatic is a color
popular style in Japanese scheme that uses tints and
screen Paintings. shades of one color.
Hanging Scrolls And Hand
Scrolls

Illustrated Legends of the Kitano Shrine (Kitano Tenjin
Engi), Kamakura period Credits

Hand scrolls or Emakimono (E mock e mo no) were introduced
from China in the 8th Century. Within a century, Japanese painters
were producing the most exquisite hand scrolls on the continent.
Hanging scrolls were used in the Japanese tea ceremony (as we’ll
discuss later). Scrolls were usually silk or paper.

This scroll contained illustrated legends of Zen for a religious shrine.
Would you like to hear a tale from Buddha’s teaching about 4 men who
learn an important lesson while practicing Zen? Click here.
Learning to BE Silent
This story is from the book One Hand Clapping and it’s entitled “Learning to
be Silent.” There once were four young men who practiced Zen together.
One day, they decided to spend seven days of zazen meditation in complete
silence.

Everything started off well. But when evening came at the end of the first
day, the oil lamps became dimmer and dimmer. One of them couldn’t help
saying, “we should fix those lamps.”

Another, surprised to hear the first one speak, said “Shhhhhhh. We’re not
supposed to say a word!”

You two really goofed. Why did you talk?” asked a third.

“Well, it looks like I’m the only one who hasn’t broken down and said
anything,” announced the fourth.

They looked at one another and began to laugh. All had been equally foolish!
They decided they’d have to try again. But this time they would remain really
alert.
Folding Screens

Other than
decoration- what
purpose did folding
screens serve?

Landscapes in the Style of An Kyon, Choson dynasty Credits
Woodblock Prints
Woodblock print- very popular
in Asia during this time.
This famous landscape print by
Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849)
was one of 36 views of Mount
Fuji.

The Great Wave at Kanagawa Hokusai Credits

Describe what you see in this picture- look closely.

Who do you think Hokusai believed was in control-
man or nature?
The Way of Tea
*The tea ceremony was to
be enjoyed in a small room
with selected “tea” scroll
paintings.
*Tea began as a medicine
and grew into a beverage.

*Teaism- purity and
harmony, the mystery of
mutual charity, the
romanticism of the social Ewer for use in tea ceremony,
order. Momoyama period Credits

*Worship of the imperfect
Selected Bibliography
Addiss, S. and Seo, A. Y. (1996). Lee, S. E. (1997). Screens
How to look at Japanese art. Harry N. and Scrolls: Japanese art from the
Abrams, Inc, Publishers: New York. collection of the Ackland Art
Museum. The University of North
Carolina at Chapel Hill: Chapel Hill,
NC.

Baker, J. S. (1984). Japanese Art. Man-Tu Lee (1999). The
Thames and Hudson Ltd: London. Japanese Tea Ceremony. Element
Books Limited: Shaftesbury, Dorset.

Johnson, N. (1993) Selected TeaHyakka Magazine: The
Readings for Anthropology 1999, pt. 1: Encyclopedia of Japanese Tea
gardens, shrines, and temples of Japan. Ceremony. Available at:
Copytron: Chapel Hill, NC. http://www.teahyakka.com/

Martin, R. (1995). One hand clapping: Zen stories for all
ages. Rizzoli International Publications, Inc: New York.
Image Credits
Seated Buddha, Tang dynasty (618?07), ca. 650 China. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Available at:
http://www.metmuseum.org/
Bamboo and Rocks, Yuan dynasty (1279?368), 1318. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Available at:
http://www.metmuseum.org/
Van Gogh Self Portrait (1990’s) Courtesy of Jim Grattan
JIM'S FINE ART COLLECTION. Available at: http://www.spectrumvoice.com/art/index.html
Landscapes in the Style of An Kyon, Choson dynasty (1392?910), 5th century. The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Available at: http://www.metmuseum.org/
Illustrated Legends of the Kitano Shrine (Kitano Tenjin Engi), Kamakura period (1185?333), 13th century. The
Metropolitan Museum of Art. Available at: http://www.metmuseum.org/
The Old Plum, Edo period (1615?868), ca. 1645 Attributed to Kano Sansetsu (Japanese, 1658?716) Japan
purchase, Louisa Eldridge McBurney Gift, 1953 (53.7.1-2) The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Available at: http://www.
metmuseum.org/
The Battles of Hogen and Heiji, Edo period (1615?868), 17th century Japan Rogers Fund, 1957 (57.156.4-5).
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Available at: http://www.metmuseum.org/
Eight-Planked Bridge (Yatsuhashi), Edo period (1615?868), 18th century Ogata Korin (Japanese, 1658?716)
Japan Purchase, Louisa Eldridge McBurney Gift, 1953 (53.7.1-2) . The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Available at: http://www.
metmuseum.org/
The Great Wave at Kanagawa (from a Series of Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji), Edo period (1615?868), ca.
1831?3 Katsushika Hokusai (Japanese, 1760?849) Japan Polychrome Ink and color on paper; 10 1/8 x 14 15/16 in. (25.7 x
37.9 cm) (Oban H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929 (JP1847). The Metropolitan Museum of
Art. Available at: http://www.metmuseum.org/
Ewer for use in tea ceremony, Momoyama period (1568?615), early 17th century Japan Stoneware with
overglaze enamels (Shino-Oribe ware); H. 7 3/4 in. (19.7 cm) Purchase, Friends of Asian Art Gifts, 1988 (1988.156ab) . The
Metropolitan Museum of Art. Available at: http://www.metmuseum.org/
Seated Buddha, Tang dynasty (618?07), ca. 650 China. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Available at:
http://www.metmuseum.org/
Dry lacquer with traces of gilt and polychrome pigments; 38 x 27 in. (96.5 x 68.6 cm) Rogers Fund, 1919
(19.186). The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Available at: http://www.metmuseum.org/
Head of Guanyin, Bodhisattva of Mercy. Gilded and painted cast iron, 13th century Ackland Fund Northern
Chinese Jin Dynasty (115-1234).