Japan, Muromachi period / Windy Landscape with Sailing Boat / mid-15th centuryJapan, Muromachi period
Windy Landscape with Sailing Boat
mid-15th century

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Creator Nationality: Asian; Far East Asian; Japanese
Creator Dates/Places: Japan
Creator Active Place: Japan
Creator Name-CRT: Japan, Muromachi period
Title: Windy Landscape with Sailing Boat
Title Type: Primary
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 1434
Creation End Date: 1466
Creation Date: mid-15th century
Object Type: Paintings
Materials and Techniques: hanging scroll, ink on paper
Dimensions: Image: 83.2cm x 30.2cm, Overall: 160.7cm x 46cm
AMICA Contributor: The Cleveland Museum of Art
Owner Location: Cleveland, Ohio, USA
ID Number: 1982.131
Credit Line: John L. Severance Fund
Rights: http://www.clemusart.com/museum/disclaim2.html
Context: Japanese travelers to the continent in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries were intent not only on commercial success but intellectual stimulation as well. Trade missions frequently included learned members of a Zen monastic community whose aspirations included audiences with renowned Chinese clerics at their rural monasteries, maintaining direct communications with religious colleagues of their Zen sect, and gathering new Buddhist religious texts, commentaries, and ritual implements. Among the visual aids keenly sought after by the Japanese monks were portraits of revered Chinese Zen priests, iconographical drawings describing and interpreting Buddhist deities, and images in ink of imaginary mountain vistas, birds and flowers, or figural compositions. These ink paintings were invariably done in the rich "colors of ink" in an array of brush styles then novel to the Japanese. Executed on paper in the handscroll or hanging scroll format, these pictures were displayed in Chinese Zen (Chan) temples, often serving as subjects of contemplation or lively conversation. The Zen community in Japan and its supporters in the military government quickly became intrigued by these new pictorial images and their usage and set about obtaining them for export. The fifteenth-century shogunal collection in Kyoto contained several hundred Chinese paintings, according to historical documents. Korean monk-painters also came to Japan, where their work was esteemed and collected. The Japanese tried emulating their Korean andChinese colleagues, for most of these ostensibly "simple" paintings were in fact not done by professionally trained artists but by amateur monk-painters themselves. Indeed as the demand in fifteenth-century Japan for Chinese and Korean paintings increaseddramatically beyond the available supply, Japanese monk-painters were called upon to provide substitutes for the growing native audience. Eventually each of the major Zen monasteries housed a small group of residents proficient in ink painting, poetry, and calligraphy, all of which coalesced in the ink painting and inscriptions that frequently appear above the image. Gradually ink painting came to embody not just the technically difficult ink-and- brush techniques, or even the novel and varied subject matter portrayed in these scrolls, but also an understanding of a comprehensive aesthetic sensibility permeating all aspects of life and material culture in medieval Japan and later. Windy Landscape depicts the humble waterside retreat of an official retiredfrom government service. He gazes out over the windswept water expanse toward a scurrying merchant sailboat and distant, mist-enveloped mountain ranges. All the forms in this dynamic composition reveal a masterly control of the subtleties of ink washesand brush movement in the service of expressing a cultural ideal of the time. Actually, the landscape vision is as imaginary as the social reality of fifteenth-century Japan: few government officials, or even eminent clerics, were able to retire into thecountryside away from the call of politics. M.R.C.
AMICA ID: CMA_.1982.131
AMICA Library Year: 1998
Media Metadata Rights: Copyright, The Cleveland Museum of Art

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