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Unformatted text preview: outh of the bay seems especially appropriate. More important from the standpoint of the development of Japanese monochrome painting is the fact that he has here drawn an actual site in Japan and not simply an idealized representation of some Chineselooking scene. It would be pleasurable to discuss other types of paintings done by Sesshû—including portraits and studies of flowers and birds—that have also contributed to his reputation among many critics as Japan’s greatest artist. But space allows only a few comments on still another kind of monochrome landscape in which he excelled, the landscape executed entirely in the running or “splashed ink” style. The best known of these is a hanging scroll in the Tokyo National Museum that Sesshû painted in 1495 (fig. 39). It is an abstract representation of trees on a small island or jut of land with great mountains just faintly visible in the background. Although at first glance this picture may appear to be something that Sesshû simply “dashed off,” closer examination reveals how superb a creation it is. One detects, for example, such details as the rooftops of buildings near the water’s edge and rowers in a boat just offshore. It is in extremely abbreviated, impressionistic paintings of this sort that one perceives most directly the intense feeling for nature that motivated artists like Sesshû. A major form of art that was strongly influenced by monochrome ink painting in the Muromachi period was landscape gardening. The origin of the Japanese love of gardens lies, no doubt, in Shinto animism—the belief that kami spirits inhabit nature—and was manifested in ancient times by the marking off or enclosure of sacred spaces of ground, sometimes simply with rocks (forming areas called iwasaka) and sometimes with rocks joined by loosely hanging ropes (himorogi). Rocks were thought to be especially favored abodes of the kami and, as in all subse- Fig. 38 Ama-no-Hashidate by Sesshû (Consulate General of Japan, New York) Fig. 39 “Splashed ink” scroll of Sesshû (Tokyo Natio...
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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 The University of British Columbia.

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