japonisme: the blossom flies

01 July 2009

the blossom flies

we have spoken earlier of the echoing, in the birth of japonisme, of nature's related forms. of course this recognition didn't start in the west:

in around 1400, moritake arakida wrote:

The fallen blossom
flies back to its branch:
A butterfly. 1

in 1820, issa wrote:

tôyama ga medama ni utsuru tombo kana

the distant mountain
reflected in his eyes...

david lanoue writes: Issa sees a vast mountain (or mountains) miniaturized in the tiny bubble-eyes of the dragonfly.

Just as his English contemporary, William Blake, glimpsed a universe in a grain of sand, Issa perceives the great in the small: a mountain in the twin mirrors of an insect's mirror eyes.

The power of this image cannot be fully explained; with it, the poet coaxes the reader into a deep contemplation of the nature, and interconnectedness, of all things.

also from 1820 is issa's:

tombô mo momiji no mane ya tatsuta-gawa

a dragonfly copies
the red leaves...
Tatsuta River 2

more recently, in 1919, amy lowell wrote:

Is it a dragonfly or a maple leaf
That settles softly down upon the water?

one western artist was known to take most deeply to heart the teachings of the japanese. his name was lucien gaillard. as was written about him during his lifetime, "Lucien Gaillard is ever on the look-out for that which is fresh and novel. As gold-worker and jeweller he has been fore- most among the most resolute supporters of the modern decorative art.

At first the jewels he produced were somewhat complicated and distorted, but now he has attained to greater wisdom and greater simplicity, this evolution being the result of serious and patient study of the Japanese masters.

He has been at great pains also to recover the secret of the marvellous oxidations on the bronzes of the Far East, and he has succeeded therein. He has lately shown some hair-pins and small-combs thoroughly characteristic of his present manner." 3

in her book on gems and jewelry, marilena mosco says, "Lucien Gaillard, who exhibited for the first time in 1902, was the most "Japanese" of the Parisian jewelers.

"Monsieur Lucien Gaillard has always been seduced by the art of the Japanese and is highly interested in the mystery of their work. One of his merits is the instantaneous legibility: clear, sharp and the pureness, of his designs.

Copying faithfully the shapes and lines of Nature, synthesizing them but not falsifying them, he achieves in his creations a sober simplicity." 4

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Blogger John hopper said...

Beautiful pieces, the Carl Schmidt vase is particularly breathtaking!

04 July, 2009 03:50  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

i agree-- and thank you, john

04 July, 2009 08:38  

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