ASIA212Varley

Chanoyu as we have seen is based on the use of

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Unformatted text preview: Kyoto and Edo. By far the most important thoroughfare in Japanese history, the Tòkaidò during Tokugawa times was the scene not only of many great daimyo processions to and from the military capital but also of the coming and going of an unending stream of other people, including merchants, itinerant priests, pilgrims, entertainers, adventurers, and even the Dutch on their journeys to the shogun’s court. In response to this bustling traffic, the stations of the Tòkaidò flourished and each accumulated stories and legends about the famous people who had visited its inns, restaurants, brothels, and bathhouses, and about the unusual events it had witnessed. Hence, the Tòkaidò became a fertile source for both writers and artists. Hokusai, among the artists, tried his hand at a series of prints of the Tòkaidò stations, but no painter succeeded in immortalizing the highway and its famous stopping-off places like Hiroshige. To many people around the world who have seen copies of them, these Tòkaidò prints by Hiroshige constitute their most vivid impressions of Japan. And, in truth, they remain even to those long familiar with the country a constant source of delight as extraordinarily effective representations in art of the peculiar qualities of Japan’s natural beauties and seasonal moods. A significant development of the late Tokugawa period was the decisive shift in the center of cultural activity from the Osaka-Kyoto region to Edo. In the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, the Kansai had produced such leading figures of the world of art as Sòtatsu, Kòrin, Saikaku, and Chikamatsu. With the exception of Bashò, who moved to Edo, and the painters of the early ukiyo-e school, the most outstanding creative artists up through the Genroku epoch were the products of Japan’s ancient center of cultural life. But by the Bunka-Bunsei epoch (the end of the eighteenth century and the first quarter or so of the nineteenth), Edo had taken over this central role in culture. It had become the principal home for writers, artists, and intellectuals, as well a...
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