How to Look at Japanese Art

Overview

Westerners have long been fascinated by Japanese art, but many viewers are unable to fully enjoy the work because they are unfamiliar with its distinctive attributes. Now, Stephen Addiss presents a complete introduction to one of the world's oldest and most admired art traditions. He discusses the composition, color, form, and subject matter of more than 60 outstanding works.
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Overview

Westerners have long been fascinated by Japanese art, but many viewers are unable to fully enjoy the work because they are unfamiliar with its distinctive attributes. Now, Stephen Addiss presents a complete introduction to one of the world's oldest and most admired art traditions. He discusses the composition, color, form, and subject matter of more than 60 outstanding works.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This small volume, organized around six important categories of Japanese visual arts-ceramics, sculpture, painting, calligraphy, prints and gardens-has fashioned itself as an introduction to Japanese aesthetic sensibilities. Its format roughly follows the textbook norm, covering the time line from Jomon ceramics (1500 B.C.E.) to current artists, with examples from each category. Addiss directs the viewer in looking at each work, and poses unthreatening questions both within the text and as a "summary quiz" for each chapter. The text is high-school level or, perhaps, freshman-year humanities requirement for science majors. The descriptions of the works, and the rhetoric Addiss uses to engage "beginning viewers," presuppose a navet that flirts with simplemindedness. The historical information is accurate and momentarily illuminating, but there is not much of it. In fact, the main purpose here is apparently to incite further exploration, but it does seem that a reader truly interested in Japanese art would just bypass it for a richer, more complete account. (May)
Library Journal
This lovely introduction to the aesthetics of Japanese art illustrates such typical characteristics as concern with nature, transformation of foreign influences, asymmetrical use of space, and humor. Chapters on ceramics, sculpture, painting, calligraphy, prints, and gardens discuss a small number of well-chosen examples, including many by women. Each chapter concludes with a page of key questions to ask when looking at a particular type of art. Addiss (art, Univ. of Richmond; The Art of Zen, Abrams, 1989) speaks directly to readers unfamiliar with Japanese art, posing questions designed to promote engagement with the works presented. His encouraging and personal approach makes this book ideal for students and general readers. A good addition to public or academic collections containing monographs on Japanese art or artists.-Kathryn Wekselman, Univ. of Cincinnati, Ohio
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780810926400
  • Publisher: Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/28/1996
  • Pages: 144
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 8.75 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments 6
Introduction 7
Outline of Japanese Historical Periods 12
Pronunciation Guide 13
1 Ceramics 14
2 Sculpture and Traditional Buddhist Art 34
3 Secular and Zen Painting 54
4 Calligraphy 76
5 Woodblock Prints 94
6 Gardens 116
Suggestions for Further Reading 136
Index 140
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