Saturday, 23 March 2013



Writers on Japanese aesthetics tend to discuss the relationship of Japanese and Chinese culture in binary terms perhaps influenced bythe Taoist  yin yang concept?  (INYO in Japanese)

Wa features in words like waka and wabun but WA itself is an ON reading of the word thats HO in Modern Mandarin though judging from the ON reading , Chinese dialects, and the form in Sino Vietnamese and Korean, the original pronunciation was something more like * hwa ?

Look at these words WA NIHONGA Tosa Yamato Rimpa Waka Haiku 

Contrast them and their styles to KARA TANG ZEN SUIBOKU  KANO Bujinga

Think of the differences between Mino ceramic styles and Celadon like Imari ?

The Kano school of painting certainly shows a strong influence of Chinese Monochrome painting in contrast to TOSA-E but Rimpa and the later Nihonga schools Japanese as they are still show Chinese influences. 

Waka and Haiku poets while writing in Japanese were often also scholars and teachers of confucianism or chinese literature.

Bujinga the scholar's style has a playful joyous  approach to color that might have shocked some Chinese artists apart from those of the eccentrics group?

So called  ZEN painting and related Suiboku monochromes using ink with no color  ultimately derive from Chinese works brought to Japan by Buddhist monks.

Perhaps its not so much a binary opposition but a binary interplay?