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How To Incorporate Japanese Design In Your Home

Oct 9, 2007
The history of Japanese art through the ages. How Japanese art was influenced by Chinese and western influences over time.

Japanese art would not be Japanese art without its incredibly beautiful paintings. Japanese paintings took their inspiration from the Chinese style of painting of the fourteenth through sixteenth centuries. This is called the Muromachi period during which the Chinese were trading extensively with Japan, and introducing its art to this island nation. The intricate and exquisite style of the Chinese paintings of this time were very well received by Japanese noblemen, who vied with one another to create beautiful homes full of art and culture. Once this style of painting was firmly established among the nobility, the Japanese themselves started to emulate this style and soon Japanese masterpieces in this same still were being created.

The special qualities of the painters in Japan who followed the Muromachi style was the sense of space that was created, and the the telling of a story. Later, during the period known as the Momoyama, which occurred between 1573 and 1603, the now traditional landscape painting of Japan was developed. These beautiful landscape paintings were created on big screens, so all of the vastness of nature could be seen. It was only during the Edo period form 1603 to 1867 that the now familiar style of adding gold leaf and a mosaic look to the paintings was added. This clearly reflected the western influence that was now being introduced to the orient. Still, a traditional form of art called Ukiyo-e was developed at the same time that seemed almost a throwback to ancient art forms, since it used woodblock to create works of art.

The next important period of Japanese are is considered the Meiji period. During the years from 1868 to 1912, the western influence became more pronounced. Different schools of painting popped up, each with its own unique style. For example, the Suibokuga school used only black ink for their paintings, a reflection of Chinese influence and also very strongly influenced by Zen.

Originally, there was a protest against the Chinese methods of painting using black ink. The Kano school of painting, founded by Kano Masanobu and his son Kano Motonobu was actually a protest against this Chinese influence. As as stark contrast, Kano paintings use bright colors and unusual compositions when compared to the simplistic dark Suibokuga style. The Kano school is said to be the influence for the Ukiyo-e school of design. Another prominent style is the nanga style, popular during the eras called Bunka and Bunsai.

The deft use of space and the simple beauty have long attracted people to Japanese paintings. There is no one medium that a Japanese painter feels compelled to use and they also choose a wide range of subjects such as buildings, landscapes and women.
About the Author
Adam Peters is the journalist of consumer websites, who has written more articles on japanese interior design for http://www.home-decorating-reviews.com . You can find more information and resources on japanese themed decor at
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