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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
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,
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.
- Spring '13