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The Floating World of Ukiyo-e: Shadows, Dreams, and Substance
February 2, 2003 4:37 PM   Subscribe

After Hours Backstage at the Puppet Theater, A Japanese Abominable Snowman, The Famous Samurai: Miyamoto Musashi, Incomparable Woman Warrior and Gingerly Avoiding A Fishy Mess--images from from The Library of Congress's The Floating World of Ukiyo-e: Shadows, Dreams, and Substance . Also, may I present UKIYO-E - The Pictures of the Floating World.

Floating World, you ask?
posted by y2karl (16 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
but Karl, that link is perfect, contextual...headline like with the terrorist, mafia secret world stuff....Tokagawa was like this...like smoking a joint when your mom is in the yard and your in the garage...out in the open...in the closed "world"...floating as to mean how these worlds overlap in that period. the two rarely, if ever, mix...so to say. perhaps this is why actors where so popular and in some ways powerful.
posted by clavdivs at 5:28 PM on February 2, 2003


Great link(s), Karl... and I like clavdivs' vision of Tokugawa!
posted by languagehat at 5:50 PM on February 2, 2003


Oh, Matt--thank you, thank you, thank you! Screwed up my post and the owner benevolently fixed it. All is right with the world. Ah...
posted by y2karl at 8:29 PM on February 2, 2003


This is a wonderful post, y2karl, thanks so much. I particularly liked the section on beauties on this page. I am just scratching the surface tonight tho - this is good stuff.

These works had a profound influence on western art also - The Impact of Japanese Woodblock Prints On Impressionism During the Mid-Nineteenth to Late-Nineteenth Century is a decent article on this topic.

In the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, there's a striking work by Monet, La Japonaise - but I always found the grimacing figure on her kimono disconcerting. It was intrusting to me to see that this Yoshiwara courtesan has similar faces and figures on her kimono (plus would you look at those platforms shoes!)
posted by madamjujujive at 8:37 PM on February 2, 2003


I am just scratching the surface tonight tho - this is good stuff.

Me, too. But you're ahead of me, madamejujujive--I hadn't even gotten to that Beauties section.

We're lucky here in Seattle--the beautiful Art Deco Seattle Asian Art Museum , is just loaded with Asian art of every sort. Formerly the Seattle Art Museum, it was founded by Eugene Fuller, brother of Buckminster. Fuller, and his mother were an obsessive Asian art collectors and the Asian Art Museum is packed with the results: Hindu and Buddhist--monumental Gandharan bodhisattvas from Afghanistan even!--sculpture, Chinese and Korean pottery, Japanese woodblock prints and monumental screens--like this one: Flocking Crows, ink, gold leaf and a black lacquer frame and the size of a wall, too--oh, it is just a treasure trove. The Seattle Art Museum is kind of provincial compared to the East Coast, but the Asian Art Museum kicks ass, especially the Japanese collection. And it's set in Volunteer Park, part of the Olmsted Brothers--the sons of Frederick Law Olmsted, who designed Central Park in NYC and the U.S. Capitol grounds--plan for Seattle. Oh, the park system here totally rocks, we are swimming in green and grand boulevard views. We are so blessed here in some ways.
posted by y2karl at 9:57 PM on February 2, 2003


We don't go in for any of that newfangled 17th Century stuff in Kyoto, having jumped the shark in the 12th Century.
Today is a festival day in Japan, by the way, called Setsubun(info). It marks the end of the coldest period of the year, and thus, confusingly, the beginning of spring (I write this lying flat out on my electric "hot carpet," snow falling gently outside.)Some pictures. Open your door and join me in a shout of: "Oni wa soto!! Fuku wa uchi!!" (Demons out!! Good luck in!!) Toss some roasted soybeans around to be really authentic, and then pick up and eat the same number of beans as your age. At Shinto shrines, priests chant, incant, and invoke in their special way, and burn sticks upon which visitors have written wishes (for a small donation). Some pics of this ceremony atop my revived weblog, which has little else due to recent recovery from fried host server
posted by planetkyoto at 2:14 AM on February 3, 2003


These works had a profound influence on western art also

Toulouse-Lautrec was especially influenced by woodblock art, particularly his poster work.
posted by apostasy at 2:28 AM on February 3, 2003


wonderful link, btw.
posted by apostasy at 2:31 AM on February 3, 2003


ah, planetkyoto writes from the land of the heated toilet seat... or so my passes for nihongo on the telephone brother says.
posted by y2karl at 2:36 AM on February 3, 2003


This is great. Thanks so much for the link!
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:58 AM on February 3, 2003


i wondered where they got the name from.
now i know, thanks y2karl.
posted by asok at 3:23 AM on February 3, 2003


Yes, we have one, but not the full Star Trek model, which I still find intimidating. My mother-in-law's 140-year-old house, downtown in a special historic district, was retrofitted with plumbing and electricity about four score and seven years ago. They put the toilet in an outbuilding in the garden, where it stands today, so that you literally have to walk the plank, and by the door is a dropoff down onto the rocks and moss if you misstep. A new western-style toilet went in this summer, though.
posted by planetkyoto at 7:30 AM on February 3, 2003


[all links NSFW]

Ukiyo-E was also connected with the efflorescence of Shunga, or Japanese erotica. All the important artists of the Ukiyo-E school created erotic wood-cuts, mostly purchased by the aristocratic classes. Hokusai, the greatest of Ukiyo-E artists, and, arguably, the most important artist in Japanese history, also set a new standard in Japanese libertine aesthetic when he produced an infamous piece entitled Awabi Fisher and Octopus.

Toshio Saeki, the most inspired and influential erotic artist in Japan of this generation, continues to pay homage to and out-do* his much appreciated Edo predecessors.

*click on the blue arrow circles (see if you can spot the wink to hokusai)
posted by dgaicun at 8:14 AM on February 3, 2003


Awabi Fisher and Octopus: *** insert calamari joke here ***

Thanks, y2karl, I've always been intrigued by the idea of ukiyo-e.

Interestingly, floating above the art of the floating world was "Surimono", or what this article calls "Ukiyo-e Refined"; exquisite, privately commissioned works that reflected the personal tastes of the patrons and the finest skills of the artists.
posted by taz at 2:01 PM on February 3, 2003


wow, I just gotta say I love a thread like this where we have some quality links on an interesting topic, and then we are fortunate enough to get a local perspective. The original links serve as a springboard for others to contribute more great pointers on related things they have expertise about or have discovered on the web - festivals, culture, art, eroticism - great stuff...

Oni wa soto!! Fuku wa uchi!!
posted by madamjujujive at 3:37 PM on February 3, 2003


It's synergy, baby!

*snaps fingers, swivels hips*

Everybody's talking 'bout
A brand new dance now
C'mon Baby, Do the Locomotion...


da capo
posted by y2karl at 4:07 PM on February 3, 2003


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