ASIA212Varley

Another outstanding painting by sessh is the hanging

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Unformatted text preview: d with philosophy as with aesthetics. Drawing on his Confucian tradition, he sought to portray in nature the kind of harmony and overall agreement of parts that ideally ought to prevail in human society. In other words, the Chinese artist tried to make a social statement; and the greater the sense of structure and depth he could incorporate into his landscapes, the greater the philosophy of his work. The Japanese, on the other hand, have never dealt with nature in their art in the universalistic sense of trying to discern any grand order or structure; much less have they tried to associate the ideal of order in human society with the harmonies of nature. Rather, they have most characteristically depicted nature—in their poetry, painting, and other arts—in particularistic glimpses. The Chinese Sung-style master may have admired a mountain, for example, for its enduring, fixed quality, but the typical Japanese artist (of the fifteenth century or any other age) has been more interested in a mountain for its changing aspects: for example, how it looks when covered with snow or when partly obscured by mists or clouds. Shûbun’s disciple and successor was Sesshû (1420–1506), who was also affiliated as a priest with the Zen temple of Shòkokuji. Shortly before the outbreak of the Ònin War, Sesshû journeyed to Yamaguchi in the western provinces of Honshu, where he came under the patronage of the daimyo family of Òuchi. With Òuchi backing, Sesshû went to Ming China in 1467 and remained there until 1469. During his two-year stay abroad, he traveled widely and did many sketches and paintings of the Chinese countryside. Curiously perhaps, Sesshû was little inspired by the work of contemporary Ming artists. He professed that his idols remained the venerable Sung monochrome masters and his own countryman, Shûbun. Nevertheless, we can see a dramatic change in the landscape painting of Sesshû when compared with that of Shûbun. Instead of atmospheric, spatially undifferentiated scenes with “ floating” mountains and the like, we find flattened surfaces and often a total disregard for perspe...
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This note was uploaded on 02/08/2013 for the course ANTH 142 taught by Professor Hans during the Spring '13 term at UBC.

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