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Chapter 12 - Japan


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Influences in Japan
China influenced Japanese art and architecture. But Korea, Euope, and the South Seas also influenced Japan.

Japanese liked things impromptu and off center; sought underlying geometries and inner meanings; valued serendipity and change; and treatured variation, even imperfection.
Two formative factors influenced design in Japan:
1. geography
- island
- frequent earthquakes (encouraged bldg in wood and bamboo, although stone is often used for platforms & foundations
2. regligion
a) Buddhism (split into Japanese Zen)
b) Confucianism
c) Shinto
Chief material and structure in japan
wood is the chief material of japanese architecture and rows of columns the chief structure, infilled with thin - often movable - paneels of woodwork, plaster, or rice paper.
Framing in Japanese architecture is:
essentially orthogonal (vertical and horizontal). Graceful curves are introduced, however in column outlines, rafters, roof brackets and the great overhanging roofs they support.
Japanese architecture vocabulary:
ken - Incapable of long spans so Japanese buildings are basically repetitions of similar bays, called ken.
moya - the bays at the center of an important structure may be tweice the depth of typical bays, producing an open area called a moya; it may be 3, 5, 7, or some other odd number of bays long.
hisashi - Around the moya, rings of signle bays form subsidiary peripheral spaces called hisashi.
Almost all traditional Japanese structures, sacred and secular alike, follow this general model. General characteristics of the architecture are:
- Proportionality. There are fixed relationships between elements, as one dimension is increased, others are increased proportionally.
- Modularity. In any one structure, a single bay size is repeated throughout (except when, in the moya, it is exactly doubled).
- Deference of decoration. The decorative elements are subordinate to the proportional, modular construction, so that they embellish it without obscuring it.
Characteristics of Japanese interiors are:
- Modularity; modularity of the structural bays; tatami floor mat and structural module ar generally coordinated; one being a multiple of the latter; 3' x 6' ft. rooms sarea typically expressed in terms of # of tatami it contains.
- Fluidity of plan. Spacial divisions are often made by movable screens or panels (fusuma) sliding in floor tracks.
- Dim light. Major spaces are often at the center of structure, without direct illumination and partly because openings are often screened with wooden shutters or paper partitions.
- Consciousness of its surroundings within the interiors. Surrounding verandas (engawas) are transitional spaces between indoors and outdoors. Exterior walls fold or swing outward for views.
Built-in Japanese furniture:

a sliding exterior panel, functioning either as door or window. Made of a light wood lattice infilled with translucent paper.
Built-in Japanese furniture:

A sliding wood shutter that might be used in conjunction with the shoji
Built-in Japanese furniture:

a type of sliding panel. it is found in the interior and is often surfaced with painted silk or painted paper.
Built-in Japanese furniture:

A partially open surface above the fusuma. It can be filled with a simple wooden grille, as seen in the book, or with an elaborately carved one.
Built-in Japanese furniture:

A rice-straw floor mat approximately 3' x 6' and about 2 inches (50 mm) thick.
Built-in Japanese furniture:

or display niche for flower arrangements, scrolls, or other art works. It graces important rooms in Japanese houses.
Built-in Japanese furniture:

A windowed bay near the tokonoma that is used for reading or writing
Built-in Japanese furniture:

chigai-dana or tana
built-in shelving, often in a recess.
the most popular and most characteristic piece of Japanese furniture is the tansu or storage chest. it was similar to the Chinese and Korean chests, but the Japanese versions were often more complex, with more elaborate interior fittings, and more asymmetric. Most frequently seen are the clothing chests or isho-dansu but perhaps the most strinking are the staircase chests or kaidan-dansu, which doubled as storage and as stairs leading from the main floor of a house to its sleeping loft.
The tokonoma
is an alcove for artistic display. Usually the tokonoma is an important room, its floor is raised slightly above the floor of the room and is partially enclosed to express its distinction. It is the natural focus.
"living flowers", the earliest school of flower arranging founded 1300 years ago by a member of a royal court who sought to devise appropriate floral offerings to Buddha. The general precept that flowers and plant materials are to be presented in ways that suggest how they naturally grow. Strict rules: an odd number of branches in the arrangements.
imitators of Japanese wood-block print:
other forms of printing
linocut - popular since the early 20th century, substitutes an easily carved block of linoleum for the block of wood;
intaglio printing - printing with incised metal plates - engravings, etchings, drypoints, aquatints, and mezzotints;
lithography - (germany - late 18th century - type of printing) wetting areas that will then repel greasy inks.
Japanese Lacquer - unparalleled (even by the Chinese);

heidatsu -silhouetted sheets of silver or gold in decorated shapes embedded in the lacquer;
maki-e - powdered gold or silver
raden - mother of pearl inlay
shunkei and kijiro - single layer lacquer - wood colored with a ting (yellow);
fuki-urushi - repeatedly brushing lacquer on the wood and rubbing it off
negoro - base of black lacquer, spreading layer of vermilion lacquer on top.
types of Japanese architecture:

- Horyuji
- Hoo-do
- Katusura
- Shokin-tei
- Horyuji: A Buddhist Temple Precinct, a gateway, a central hall, a pagoda, and a surrounding roofed walkway. Added in the eight century were a 2nd, outer gateway and an octagonal (8 sides)struycture called the Yume-dono.
- Hoo-do: A Pavilion for Family Worship; "Phoenix Hall" built at Uji in 1052. Heavily decorated but the basic structure of the bldg remains unobscured.
- Katsura - A Country Villa -completed in 1658. Main bldg is in 3 linked sections arranged in an irregular zigzag across the landscape. Rooms open freely to each other thru sliding partiutions and the variety given choherence by repeated module of tatami mat. - relationship of inside and outside
- Shokin-tei: A Teahouse accommodation. On the grounds of the katsura villa, there were 5 teahouses at one time. Ideally, built in picturesque garden settings
Most popular Japanese furniture woods included:
1. Magnolia (ho-no-ki)
2. Paulow-nia (kiri)
3. Zelkova (kikeya)
4. White mulberry (kuwa)
5. Chestnut (kuri)
Metal fittings in Japan included:
locks, latches, escutcheons around keyholes, pulls, hinges, handles, rings thru which carrying poles could be threaded, finger holes for sliding panels, and some purely decorative hardware. These fittings were made of iron, brass, copper, silver, or silver-nickel, although iron was by far the most widely used.
Beds play a minor part in the traditional japanese interior, as places for sleeping are generally _______
futon - thin mattresses of padded cotton. They are rolled up and put away when not in use. Supplementing the futon are pillows and quilted coverlets.
Chairs, until recently, have had only brief periods of popularity in Japanese interiors. Usually the Japanese sat directly on the tatami mat or on one of two types of cushion:
1. 2.
1. enza - which means "round seat" - about 20 or 22 inches in daimeter and made of rice straw, rush, or some other plaited grass. ussed until the beg. of 17th century - since then primarily in temples and shrines
2. zabuton - square padded cushion more popular now. 2 feet square, sometimes larger. Covered with cotton, linen, silk or sometimes leather.
HEIAN (794-1185)
(Late Heian:
Great flowering of classical Japanese culture in new capital of Heian-kyo (Kyoto). Court aristocracy, especially women, produced a great body of literature--poetry, diaries, the novel The Tale of Genji--and made refined aesthetic sensibility their society's hallmark.
Country unified under military government which maintained 250 years of secluded peace, leading to development of vibrant urban "middle-class" culture with innovations in economic organization, literature, and the arts.

wood-block prints; katsura villa - scholoarly decorators; lacquerware

Kemmu Restoration
Beginning of military rule, as samurai (warriors) replaced nobles as actual rulers of Japan. Imperial court remained in Kyoto but shogun's governing organization was based in Kamakura, which is south of modern Tokyo.

Painting; lacquerwork

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