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

View of the sumida river at azuma bridge i8oo 1805

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Unformatted text preview: Hokusai (1760-I849). View of the Sumida River at Azuma Bridge, i8oo/ 1805. Color woodblock print; 18.8 x 31.4 cm. Clarence Buckingham Collection, 1928.Iio6. FIGURE 13 Ryuryukyo Shinsai (1764?-I820). Susaki Embankment with Canal, i8oo/i8io. Color woodblock print;22.7 x 35.2 cm. Clarence Buckingham Collection, 1963.1153. MuseumStudies 85 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 86 MuseumStudies This content downloaded from on Sun, 29 Sep 2013 20:18:18 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions LITTLE Anything in Chinese style was associatedin Japanwith China'sTang dynasty (618-90o6), which exerted strong influence over Japan. TheJapanese ordkaradenotesboth "China" w a and"Tang,"ndthe "Tang ate"of thisprint's G title means simply a "Chinese-style gate." The Dragon King was a figurefrom Chinese Buddhist mythology, whose ultimate origins canbe tracedto the Naga kingsof ancient India.In this print,illustrating story entitled a theJellyfishHas No Bones,"a monkey "Why ridesa tortoise overthe ocean,awayfrom the palace of the Dragon King.13 Otohime, youngest daughterof the Dragon King who lived in a palace under the ocean, was sick. Only the liver of a monkey could cure her. The Dragon King instructeda tortoise subject to cross the ocean, find a monkey, and trick the monkey into riding on its back to the palace.This the tortoise did, but, on the way, they met a weeping jellyfish, who told the unfortunate monkey why he was being THE taken to the watery depths.Upon his arrival, the monkey informed the Dragon King that he had left his liver at home on land, and received ermissiono retrievet. In Toyoharu's t i p we see the tortoise bearingthe monkey print, homeward. Once there, the monkey naturally refused to go back to the realm of the Dragon King. When the tortoise returned and reported the failure of his mission, the enragedking had the shell and all the bones removedfromthe jellyfish.Everafter,according to Japanesemythology,jellyfishhavehad no bones. Uki-e of the lateeighteenthcentury t often illustrate uchfantastic ales.Presumably s the foreignness of the perspectiveenhanced the otherworldliness of legends from Japanese mythology. Besides interiors, fanciful renderingsof far-off places, and illustrationsof myths and folk tales, uki-e were commonly used in depictions of actual places in Japan. By the t c eighteenth entury, he genre-called meisho-e LURE OF THE WEST LEFTOPFIGURE T 14 Utagawa (Ichiryuisai) Kunitora (active c. 1810/30). Picture of a Dutch Ship Entering the Harbor of the Island of Rhodes, 1820/30. Color oodblock w print; 24.6 x 36 cm. Gift of Emily Crane Chadbourne, 1926.1720. LEFTOTTOM B FIGURE 15 Willem J. Blaeu (Dutch, 15711638).Nova Totius TerrarumOrbis Geographica ac Hydrographica Tabula (detail), 16o6. Ink on paper; 41 x 55 cm. Photo courtesy of the Newberry Library, Chicago. 16 FIGURE Utagawa (Ichiunsai) Kuninaga (1788-I829). Newly Published Dutch Perspective View: The Tomb of King Mausolus in Asia, c. 1824/25. Color oodblock w c print;22.4 x 34.8 m. Anonymous gift, 1931-795. MuseumStudies 87 This content downloaded from on Sun, 29 Sep 2013 20:18:18 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions LITTLE THE LURE 17 FIGURE Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1797-1861). The Night Attack, from Chushingura, 1831. Color oodblock w print; 26.3 x 37.9 cm. Kate S. Buckingham Purchase Fund, 1976.1o8. OF THE WEST o i ("pictures f famousplaces," .e., sites known for scenicbeautyor for literary, egendary, r o l historicalconnotations)--had a long history in Japanesepainting. The perspectiveprint, with its focus on architecture ndwide-angle a f views, was easily appropriatedor this genre; andmeisho-eemployingEuropean-styleperi f spective ounda readymarket n Edo.A classic is RyogokuBridge in Edo:Enjoying example the Evening Cool (fig. io) by Kitao Masayoshi (1764-1824). One of the most famous landmarksin Edo, Ryogoku Bridge spannedthe SumidaRiver.In the foreground of this beautiful print, dating to the 1790s, w appeara host of small restaurants, hile, in the middledistance,a boat sets off fireworks that shoot up, ribbonlike, over the bridge. Takingin the cool air of eveningby the river are sophisticated Edokko, or "people of Edo."This print would have interestedboth residents of Edo and visitors from the provinces, who would have bought it as a souvenirof the glamorousmetropolis. Kitao Masayoshi began his career as a student of Kitao Shigemasa, to whom the a largepaintingBathhouse nd Laundry(fig. 5) is attributed. He was also, however, deeply influenced by the uki-e prints of Utagawa A c o Toyoharu. roundi80oMasayoshi reated ne of the most extraordinaryrintsin this genre, p entitledA Pictureof FamousPlacesinJapan.14 Both a map and an almost photographic icp 88 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...
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