The Lure of the West European Elements in the Art of the Floating World

The second a parthas recentlybeen translated s the

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Unformatted text preview: the print's title translatesas Newly Published Dutch Perspective View. The second a parthas recentlybeen translated s The Tomb I of the MauryaKingsin Asia.24t seemslikely, that the Japanicized title should however, be translatedas The Tombof King Mausolus [Moriya-6] in Asia. In what appears to be some confusionon Kuninaga'sart,hisprintis p d f clearly erivedromtheimagein thelowerright borderof Blaeu's ap of the Templeof Diana m at Ephesus,while the Mausoleumat Halicarnasusin AsiaMinorappears s a separatemage a i to the left of the Templeof Diana. In a mode analogousto Kunitora'simage of the Colossus, the building in Kuninaga'sprint is surroundedby eighteenth-century utchmen. D Ukiyo-e artists of the early nineteenth century became increasingly interested in effectsof light andshade,a featureof Western 90 MuseumStudies This content downloaded from on Sun, 29 Sep 2013 20:18:18 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions LITTLE THE LURE OF THE WEST FIGURE 19 Utagawa Hiroshige (1797-1858). View of Saruwaka Street at Night from the series One Hundred Famous Views of Edo, i856. Color woodblock print; 33.9 x 21.9 cm. Frederick W. Gookin Collection, 1965.10o80. MuseumStudies 91 This content downloaded from on Sun, 29 Sep 2013 20:18:18 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions LITTLE THE LURE 20 FIGURE Anonymous. Picture of a Foreigner's "Reflecting-Reality" Scene, early i86os. Color woodblock print; 36.2 x 24-3 cm. Gift of Emily Crane Chadbourne, 1926.1802. OF THE WEST artintroducedthroughsuch books as Andrea Pozzo's Perspectiva Pictorum et Architectorum.First publishedin Rome at the end of the seventeenth century, it was known in a Chinain the eighteenth entury, ndprobably c in Japan as well.25 Early prints by Hokusai (see fig. 12) and his pupil Shinsai(see fig. i3) incorporatelight and shade,as we have seen. These effects are utilized with particular drama in one of the best-known Ukiyo-e prints of the early nineteenth century, The Night Attack(fig. 17)by UtagawaKuniyoshi T datable to 1831.26 his superb (I797-I861), print depicts the penultimate scene of the great revenge drama Chushingura, also known as TheForty-seven onin("Masterless R In the moonlight, we see the Retainers"). ronin slipping over the wall of their enemy's mansionto avengethe forced suicide of their T master,the feudal lord Enya Hangan.27 he first performed in Edo in 1748, was play, based on events that actually occurred between 1701and 1703.Becausethe shogunal governmentdid not allow current events to be depicted onstage, the play was set in the fourteenthcentury.In Kuniyoshi'sprint, the mansionis depictedin deeply recedingspace, conveyed through architectural erspective, p creating a feeling of foreboding solitude, while dramaticcontrasts of moonlight and shadowheightenthe sense of imminentperil. Perspective and light-and-shade have been used successfully to communicate the suspense and stealthof a dangerousmission carried out on a moonlit winter night. The effects of light are likewise used to createa specific mood in Landscapein Mist, a print of about 1832(fig. i8) by Utagawa K d Kunisada(1786-1864).28unisada's reamlike vision of a landscapeby a riverbank,with a ghostly Mount Fuji in the right distance,is a bold and novel image,virtuallyunique in the history of Ukiyo-e printmakingto that date, 92 MuseumStudies This content downloaded from on Sun, 29 Sep 2013 20:18:18 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions LITTLE and in many ways closer in style to classical Japaneseink painting. Kunisada's contemporary Utagawa Hiroshige (1797-1858),who was a master at suggesting a given season or time of day through atmospheric effects, continued to w experiment ith light effectsto the end of his I career. n his last greatprint series,One Hundred Famous Views of Edo, he combined shadowswith dramatic ompositionsin such c printsas View of SaruwakaStreetat Night of 1856(fig. 19).29 This rendition of the main the- aterstreetin Edo is illuminated y both a full b moon and the lights of the theatersand teahouses liningthe avenue. he shadowscastby T the townspeople who fill the scene heighten the realism of the print, which is one of the most dramaticmagesin a seriesknown for its i unconventional iews of the greatmetropolis. v In assessingthe significanceof the uki-e genrein art of the Edo period, let us examine a previously unpublishedprint that depictsa Westernerholding an optique and standing next to a squattingsamurai(fig. 20). The print probably dates from the early i86os, just prior to the beginning of the Meiji period (1868-1912), when Japanbegan its concerted programof Westernization.Optical devices such as telescopes,microscopes,and optiques were all introducedinto Japanby Westerners duringthe Edo period, and conveyedan aura of modernity that was directly associated with the West. In this work, however, the scene normally viewed inside the optique is magicallyprojected out of the box onto the sky, becomingrealityitself. That this was the print'sintended meaningis suggestedby the title, Picture of a Foreigner's "Reflecting- THE LURE OF THE WEST the printreinforces he ideathatthe scenecret d ated with such an artif...
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