Japanese Art

Current as of June 2005

The Virtual Museum of Japanese Arts
Part of the Japan Information Network, sponsored by Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This comprehensive site includes information about and photos of all forms of traditional Japanese art. Fine Arts covers painting, sculpture, and ukiyoe; Crafts introduces ceramics, textiles, and metalwork; Performance Arts introduces Kabuki, Noh, Bunraku, and Kyogen; Pastime Arts explores Bonsai, Ikebana, calligraphy, and tea ceremony; and Martial Arts provides an overview of Sumo, Judo, Aikido, Kyudo, etc. The Cafe introduces wagashi (Japanese confections served with tea) and offers a link to the Virtual Museum Theater.

The Floating World of Ukiyo-e: Shadows, Dreams, and Substance
This Library of Congress exhibition showcases the Library's holdings of Japanese prints, books, and drawings from the 17th to the 19th centuries. The site is divided into 6 major sections: Early Masters, Major Genres: Beauties, Actors, and Landscapes, Images and Literary Sources, Realia and Reportage, Japan and the West: Artistic Cross-Fertilization, and Beyond Ukiyoe: Modern and Contemporary Japanese Prints. Suggestions for further reading are also included.

The Gitter-Yelen Art Study Center Presents the Manyo'an Collection of Japanese Art
The Manyo'an Collection of Japanese Art focuses on Edo-period (1615-1868) works in the Zenga, Nanga, Rinpa, Maruyama-Shijo, Ukiyoe, and Eccentric styles. The Collection Tour provides detailed introductions to each style of art in the collection and links to selected works in each style. The collection is further indexed by artist, publications, schools, and subjects. Thumbnail images link to enlarged samples of the works.

The Etsuko and Joe Price Collection
The Shin'enkan Foundation offers this online exhibit of The Etsuko and Joe Price Collection of Japanese art objects. The Paintings section exhibits 50 works sorted by artist, subject, and historic period from the Edo period to the Meiji period. The site also offers a small exhibit of Contemporary Netsuke and A History of Edo Period Painting written by one of the collectors, Joe D. Price. Thumbnail images link to enlarged samples of the works.

Japanese Art
These pages provide a brief online tour of the Japanese Art collection at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The tour exhibits ceramics, lacquer, painting, sculpture, and wood-block prints and includes detailed background information about each piece. Links to additional articles on such topics as Neolithic Japanese Ceramics, Haniwa, and various artists are also included.

Japanese Architecture in Kansai
From the Kansai Window Web site. This feature explores the history and present of Kansai architecture through articles on Tea Rooms, modern minka (farmhouses), castles, Kyoto townhouses, and the measuring system used in Japanese architecture. Consideration is also given to the relationship between climate and architectural styles.

Japanese Gardens
Part of the online magazine Nipponia, a quarterly magazine about modern Japan. Japanese Gardens is a multi-part feature on Japanese landscape gardening with articles titled: Restraint and Refinement - Beauty in the Japanese Garden, Creating Gardens, Small Oases in Big City. The feature explores the history and philosophy of landscape gardening in Japan as well as gardening in contemporary Japan.


Edo: Art in Japan 1615-1868
From the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. This teaching program, available here as a PDF file, was developed in conjunction with the exhibition Edo: Art in Japan 1615-1868. The unit provides background reading on Edo Style, Samurai, Work, Religion, Travel, and Entertainment; a glossary; and a chronology. There are 9 activities designed for Beginner, Intermediate, or Advanced learners studying Art, Language Arts, Math, or Social Studies. The unit includes images from 20 slides.

Japan: Images of a People
Smithsonian in Your Classroom

From the January/February issue of the publication Art to Zoo: Teaching with the Power of Objects from the Smithsonian Institution. After background reading about Japan's geography, climate, architecture, and clothing, this unit offers a three-step lesson plan: Geography of Japan, Looking for Clues: Paintings as Information Sources, and Japanese Screens. The unit includes a map of Japan and three images for students to work with.

Teaching Primary Children about Japan through Art | Japan Digest
Part of the National Clearinghouse for U.S.-Japan Studies' online publications for educators. Introduces Japanese art terms (wabi, sabi, suki), deep looking exercises that explore Japanese objects juxtaposed with similar American objects, and art projects that embody the Japanese tradition of paper saving and reuse.

Using Museums to Teach about Japan | Japan Digest
Part of the National Clearinghouse for U.S.-Japan Studies' online publications for educators. This digest introduces teachers to the value of museum learning, reviews different museum resources available to enhance teaching about Japan at the K-12 level, and suggests several Web resources to supplement classroom instruction.

Identifying Buddhist Images in Japanese Painting and Sculpture by Douglas P. Sjoquist
From the Association for Asian Studies journal Education About Asia, Volume 4, Number 3, Winter 1999. The article introduces the reader to the identifying characteristics of and differences among Tathagata (Nyorai) and bodhisatva (bosatsu). The symbolism of mudras (hand gestures) and objects, such as the lotus or the staff with six rings, is also explained. A worksheet is provided.