Friday, March 14, 2008
Traditional art from China and Japan on view in New York
For a little while, it’s possible to be immersed in the traditional arts of China and Japan without ever leaving Manhattan. Two current exhibitions offer in-depth looks at Chinese scrolls and the Japanese paintings and woodcuts known as ukiyo-e (the name refers to ukiyo, or “floating world” of leisure and luxury during the 17th and 18th century, which these works depict in loving detail).
“Anatomy of a Masterpiece” is the Chinese scroll exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The curator of this show, Maxwell K. Hearn, has provided photographic enlargements of details of these paintings, making them much more accessible and dramatic for the uninitiated visitor. Take a quick tour through some of these scroll paintings on the New York Times website.
Meanwhile, over at the Asia Society, delicate paintings and woodcuts introduce us to a world of diversions and delights, populated by courtesans, actors, samurai, and celebrated beauties. This exhibition, “Designed for Pleasure: the Wolrd of Edo Japan in Prints and Paintings, 1680-1860”, is a window on an art form regarded by the Japanese as the predecessor to the current crazes, manga and anime.
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