Japanese art, or Nihonga, is a form of art that is predominantly Japanese and somewhat distinct from other forms of art in this country. It was developed by Japanese artists who were influenced by the various traditions of the countries that they lived in. Many of the artists who created Nihonga also produced works that are considered part of the Western traditions of art, but Nihonga is particularly notable for the quality of its traditional Japanese elements.
The origins of Japanese art are said to date back as far as the third century B.C.E., when the Chinese court sculptor, Hsüan-Tsang, was invited to Japan to create the country’s first official art museum. This first Chinese art school, called the Ch’üan-Huang-tui, was located in Nara, the ancient capital of Japan, and was where the first Japanese art styles emerged, such as the Japanese In (Sculpture) and Japanese T’ang (Painting).
Japanese art is known for its subtlety, elegance, and harmony. It is exemplified in its calligraphy and the paintings and sculptures of Japanese artists. Unfortunately, the Japanese have not always been so accepting of their artistic traditions. Because of the Occupation, the country was greatly influenced by the West, and a series of wars from World War II to the present have caused the country to be exhausted. Today, while criticism of the government and the emperor is still strong, many in Japan are beginning to view the country as a noble one.
The Japanese have perfected the art of making things beautiful. You may not agree with that statement, but there is no denying it—they take their craftsmanship seriously. The quality of their creations is often awe-inspiring, and the little things often make the most impression.
Japanese art is a fascinating mix of nature and human culture. Its roots are ancient, and its history stretches back before recorded human history. The art of ancient Japan has developed into a unique style, which has become a major influence on the art of East Asia. The art of ancient Japan has evolved, and its development has shown many similarities to the art of ancient Egypt and the art of the ancient Greeks.
In this day and age, everyone has an opinion on what “Japanese” art is. Why? Because there are so many different types of art that have evolved around the country. Some of these include landscape art, classical art, woodblock prints, calligraphy, and the list goes on.
The Japanese have always been known for their art and culture, but what exactly is the common thread between their works? The answer might be something you didn’t know, or it might be something you already knew but never thought about in the Japanese art world.
Look around at any cultural institution in Japan, and you’ll find a collection of art objects that often resemble each other in some way. Then there’s Japanese cuisine, a culinary tradition dominated by miso soup, yakitori (grilled chicken), tofu, and ramen noodles. Now, what are the hallmarks of all these elements of Japanese culture?
Most people aren’t aware of a lot of depth and history to Japanese culture. A lot of us think of Japanese culture as being very simple and straightforward: a nation of polite and sophisticated people who enjoy tea ceremonies and haiku. But the truth is that Japanese culture is much more complex and nuanced. Japanese art often has a depth of symbolism that is reflected in its highly stylized and symbolic art forms.
As you can imagine, the culture of Japan is full of different influences, both historical and modern. No other country has been influenced to the same degree as Japan, at least in terms of architecture, art, and fashion.
Japanese art is famed for its creativity and innovation. The characteristic style is known as ukiyo-e, which means “pictures of the floating world,” and the word ukiyo itself is often translated as “floating world,” which is quite apt. Though we tend to associate it with woodblock prints and traditional painting, ukiyo-e includes a wide variety of media, including lacquerware, textiles and ceramics, folding screens and architecture, and several other forms.