The arts of Asia, practiced in India, China, Japan, Korea, and Southeast Asia, date back many thousands of years; through trade and travel, the cultural ideas and customs of these nations have gradually become more familiar to the West.
Certain artistic practices and styles evolved in a distinct way and have become recognizable symbols of the place from which they originate: the Indian miniature painting tradition; Chinese calligraphy and scroll painting; Japanese kimonos and woodblock prints; the simple, organic forms of Korean art; and the religious monuments of Southeast Asia. Artists from these cultures have had a long time to perfect their techniques, and such traditional expertise is still highly valued today: the Japanese government recognizes the individuals or groups who possess such skills by designating them “Living National Treasures.”
Many works from across India, China, Japan, Korea, and Southeast Asia share an underlying spirituality and sense of order and harmony. Ideas and aesthetics are often aligned with nature, and based on a blend of philosophies: Asia has a long tradition of religious pluralism.
TOPICS COVERED IN THIS CHAPTER:
Choose a culture from this week. In a short essay, discuss the main characteristics of art from your chosen culture. Include thoughts on form (how it looks) and content (what it means) and functionality (how it is used–is it just looked at and discussed or does it generally seem to function in daily life?). Also, how does it compare to Western European art? You may have to look ahead a bit to discuss this last point…but you also have enough experience with Western European art at this point in the course to form an opinion on this.
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