ASIA212Varley

The japanese are unusual in having retained through

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Unformatted text preview: ologically in the making of pottery from plain, unglazed clay pieces to fine porcelains, tend to leave their earlier works in the past. The Japanese are unusual in having retained through the ages a love for primitive ceramics even as they have made progressively finer pottery, mainly under the influence of China. The most impressive example of this love for the primitive in pottery is to be found in the culture of tea, which evolved during the medieval age. 6 The Emergence of Japanese Civilization Fig. 3 Yayoi pottery (courtesy of the Brooklyn Museum) In aesthetic terms, the cherishing of primitive pottery rests on the value of naturalness, or the preference for things in their original, unaltered states. For the artist or craftsman, naturalness means staying close to his materials. Thus the maker of primitive pottery does not seek to disguise the clay he uses; and the products of his work are admired not only for their natural texture but also for the imperfections that inevitably appear in “primitively” produced things. Another example of the aesthetic taste of the Japanese for naturalness is to be found in the architecture of Shinto shrines, the wood of which is often left unpainted. In this case, practicality is clearly sacrificed to aesthetics, since natural wood shrines are much more susceptible than other kinds of structures to the ravages of weathering. Nearly all Jòmon pottery was in the wide-mouthed hachi form and appears to have been used mainly for cooking and serving food. The Yayoi period brought a variety of new pottery forms, including the jar (tsubo), designed for storage, especially of dried rice; the pot (kame), a The Emergence of Japanese Civilization 7 vessel, similar to the hachi, that was also used in cooking; and the pedestaled takatsuki for the formal serving of food. All of these new pottery forms emerged to meet the needs of the agricultural society that evolved in Japan during the Yayoi period. Production of pottery for use in the storage of rice is particularly deserving of...
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