ARH209 – History of Japanese Art | Lecture 9 | October 27, 2015
The World of Awakened Sages: Zen Buddhism
Medieval Period 3
Origins of Zen Buddhism:
-Started in India where Buddhists meditated through yoga; Bodhidharma was a Buddhist monk who brought the idea of Zen Buddhism to China which then spread into Japan
-Disciple teaching; experience/initiation of practitioner from studying under a master -Secular cultural activities: the belief that you couldn’t be awakened became popular and evolved into “mini” awakenings that eventually led to dharma awakening -Inspired new art and architecture
-Zen Buddhism was exotic and inspired hope, new art, and architecture which became the “Japanese tradition”, but retained traditional grand Buddha halls
*Jizo Hall (Medieval 3 Exam Slides, pg 2):
-Introduced a new, more economical way of propping the roof up with structural posts -Open concept, tall ceilings, ornamental gable roof We also discuss several other topics like What kind of bowl is used in very important tea ceremonies since the bowl is very expensive and unique?
Daisen-in (Tacchu), Daitokuji Monastery:
-“tacchu” = Abbot’s residence, but literally means “tip of pagoda”
-Became a residence for retired abbots
Hojo (Abbot’s Quarters) of Daisen-in:
-Living quarters, guest spaces, patron’s room, and long rectangular Zen gardens surrounding building
-Partial walls separate sightlines between the garden and the building
*Garden at Daisen-in (Medieval 3 Exam Slides, pg 3):
-The Zen garden is a “dry garden” (karesansui) with raked lines in pebbles/sand that imitate water; flat rocks symbolize ships and the other objects are supposed to make up a miniature world
-Zen gardens usually incorporated a theme of travel across water which symbolized the journey to awakening
-Garden is not to be physically entered, but entered with the mind as a form of meditation
-An example of a Chinese landscape which Zen gardens are modeled after
*Ryoanji Garden (Medieval 3 Exam Slides, pg 6):
-One of the most famous Zen gardens
-Abbot’s quarter was burned down, so there was another built elsewhere and transported to the location
-Contains 15 large rocks; the large rocks are placed closer to the foreground and smaller rocks are placed in the back to give it depth and make it look larger than it is -Everything looks straight, but the garden and walls slope down towards the eastern corner We also discuss several other topics like Who provided evidence which showed that genes were located on the chromosome?
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-Walls are low enough to show the natural landscape as a part of the scene rather than designing vegetation within the garden
*Juko-in Compound (Medieval 3 Exam Slides, pgs 4-5):
-Abbot’s quarters (hojo) inhabited by warriors
-Fully decorated with ink and gold painted wall panels; art very similar to Chinese images imported to Japan
-Separation between rooms is very porous (top portion of walls made up of vent-type ornaments and wall panels can be completely removed
-Most important ceremonial room due to the altar rooms placement within it -“Flowers and Birds of the Four Seasons”: made up of 16 sliding-door panels -Landscape paintings make up a singular panoramic scene circling the entire room
-Misty landscape; plum tree is blooming which signifies spring; several other flowers; two birds perched on tree; ducks in river; more birds in the sky; small rock formations connect the panels and allow for seamless transitions if the panels separating the rooms are removed
-Chinese influence: “crane” panel is almost identical to the crane panel in the “Crane, Kannon, and Monkey” triptych imported from China -Altar Room:
-Contains a sculpture made in the likeness of the abbot residing there
-When panels to the altar room are opened, the panels in the central room show that all the animals are bowing down to the sculpture
-Panels below the sculpture also connect with the panels in the central room, but depict a more summery scene and include a lotus Don't forget about the age old question of How many states on 1989 had taken some form of binding economic action against
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-The lotus is significant in Buddhism since that they grow out of muddy waters, representing detachment and purity
-Paintings depict the “4 Accomplishments”: Chess, paining, calligraphy, music -Paintings contain all four seasons; clouds suggest pure land and sacred space -Meant as a patrons’ waiting area to meet with the abbot (who would enter from the central room); paintings cause the patron to reflect on their accomplishments and think about their worthiness in the presence of the abbot -If separating panels are removed, the panels still connect seamlessly *Photos of these pieces have been posted in the Exam Slides on Canvas