Japanese Art

Japanese art covers a wide range of art styles and media, including ancient pottery, sculpture, ink painting and calligraphy on silk and paper, ukiyo-e paintings and woodblock prints, kirigami, origami, dorodango, and more recently manga, along with a myriad of other types of works of art. It has a long history, ranging from the beginnings of human habitation in Japan, sometime in the 10th millennium BC, to the present.

I trust you enjoy this visit and may you be enriched with the work of masters of art

Ten Verses on Oxherding

in Zen , a herdboy’s search for his lost oxen has served as a parable since this Buddhist sect’s early history in China . in the eleventh century , Zen master Guoan Shiyuan codified the parable into ten verses , recorded and illustrated in this handscroll • dated by an inscription to 1278 , the present scroll is the earliest known Japanese illustrated copy of the parable and the only extant version with color illustrations.

one
one aimlessly pushes the grasses aside in search . the rivers are wide , the mountains far away , and the path becomes longer . exhausted and dispirited , one hears only the late autumn cicadas shrilling in the maple woods

two
by the water , and under the trees , there are numerous traces . fragrant grasses grow thickly , but did you see the ox ? even in the depths of the distant mountain forest , how could the upturned nostrils of the ox be concealed

three
a bush warbler sings upon a branch , warm sun , soft breezes , green willows on the bank . nowhere can the ox escape to hide , but those majestic horns are difficult to draw

four
with all my energy , i seize the ox . his will is strong , and his power endless , and he cannot be tamed easily . sometimes he charges to the high plateau . and there he stays , deep in the mist
 

five
one does not let go of the whip or the rope , afraid it will stray and choose the dusty mist . a well-tended ox becomes gentle , and even with no rope , will follow people by himself

six
riding the bull , i leisurely wander toward home . exotic flute melodies echo through sunset clouds . each beat and each tune is indescribably profound . no words are needed for those who understand music
 

seven
riding on the ox , he has come home . there is no ox there , and he is at ease . although the sun is high , he is still dreamy . the whip and rope abandoned in the thatched hut
 

eight
whip , rope , man and ox, all are non-existent . the blue sky being vast , no message can be heard , just as the snowflake cannot last in the flaming red furnace . after this state , one can join the ancient teachers

nine
in returning to the fundamentals and going back to the source , i had to work so hard . perhaps it would be better to be blind and deaf . being in the hut , i do not see what is outside . the river flowing tranquilly, the flower simply being red

ten
he enters the city barefoot , with chest exposed . covered in dust and ashes smiling broadly . no need for the magic powers of the gods and immortals . just let the dead tree bloom again

 

Japanese Art
Kasuga Wakamiya Mandara
Mandala of Wakamiya of Kasuga Shrine 14th century

Japanese Art
Sutra Box (Kyōbako) with Lotus Pond
17th century

Japanese Art
Arrival of the Europeans
first quarter 17th century

Japanese Art
The Jeweled Chaplet from The Tale of Genji : Genji Monogatari
early 17th century

Japanese Art
Jūbako : Stacked Food Box with Tagasode Design
18th century

 

 

 

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images and text extract from The Metropolitan Museum of Art
images combined and video created by Anu
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