japonisme: frogs sing, roosters sing

01 March 2011

frogs sing, roosters sing

kawazu naki tori naki higashi shirami keri

frogs sing, roosters sing
the east
turns light


as van gogh wrote to his brother, 'i think the drawing of the blade of glass and the carnation and the hokusai in *bing's reproductions are admirable... isn't it almost a true religion which these simple japanese teach us, who live in nature as though they themselves were flowers.'

what van gogh probably didn't know was that in japan 'precise rules had been laid down governing the drawing of animals and plants.' through a combination of historical documents and close observation, the artists were required to produce drawings that were 'accurate enough to satisfy a zoologist,' and in doing so revealed their closeness to nature, unlike the europeans who seemed to survey it from afar. 1

the japanese portrayal of animals and plants were true to life but not naturalistic. one found in them a deeper significance, a symbolic element beyond the artistic intent. as a part of historical religions in the area every living thing was both itself, and a representation of the essence it embodied.

in japan, the cock symbolized high esteem. it is also suggested that the bird acquired a religious significance as a representative of peace and the coming of dawn.

the tale of the rooster who made the sun come up is legend; the one with which i am most familiar is the story of chanticleer and the fox, which began with chaucer if not before. two rival inflated egos at the job of trickstering each other, to both the success and the failure of each.

to my eyes, the cock's greatest conceit is his beauty. how graphically dramatic is that bright red against the black or white of the rest of the bird. even in the more multi-colored birds the comb, the tail, and the attitude delight us, and make us laugh with bit of awe.

Is that a
rooster? He
thrashes in the snow
for a grain. Finds
it. Rips
it into
flames. Flaps. Crows.
bursting out of his brow.

How many nights must it take
one such as me to learn
that we aren’t, after all, made
from that bird that flies out of its ashes,
that for us
as we go up in flames, our one work

to open ourselves, to be
the flames?

Galway Kinnell

from Another Night in the Ruins from Three Books. Copyright © 2002 by Galway Kinnell. All rights reserved.

* Artistic Japan

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Anonymous evan said...

love dem birdies.

There is something about the graphic nature of Japanese prints & the way European artists expanded on the idea- economy of line & "perfect" composition- something to try to achieve in my own stuff. Recently been reading what little I could find about stencil prints (Jungknickel specifically)...after my own hardly successful foray into screen printing I'm wondering- how'd they do that?

02 March, 2011 10:56  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

i agree. have you seen charles's blog modern printmakers? he just did a post on that very thing!

02 March, 2011 11:09  
Blogger Haji baba said...

The Thiemann is one of his best. Who is the bird before Thiemann by? Another informative selection, Lily.

Is that a coincidence about the stencil sprays or syncronicity?

02 March, 2011 12:58  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

unless you were the catalyst to his thinking about it!

that theimann and the andri and some others i've seen, inclucind another thiemann of flying swans which i can't find online anywhere so i'll have to photographs it even though it goes across two pages, i think they were all in ver sacrum, based on specific shape and size, color density, etc.

oh, by the way, to see who an artist is --there are two ways: either let your mouse hang over the image and you'll see the name on the end of the URL across the bottom of the screen, or, if you click on the image, you'll see the artist's name as the title of the window. usually. i try my best to always put the artist's name as the title of the image.

02 March, 2011 13:51  
Blogger Haji baba said...

ok, thanks.

It looks a few people were intrigued by what they saw of Jungnickel's stencils.

02 March, 2011 14:37  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

including me!

it just occurs to me--the relationship to both pochoir and kategama to the discussion.

i should probably go ask there.

02 March, 2011 16:17  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any relation between Jungnickel and the many Bergmaeher by Egger-Lienz? d

03 March, 2011 05:21  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

'Forest at dusk' Egger-Lienz,1895 as well. d

03 March, 2011 05:28  
Anonymous evan said...

Thanks, L. I actually stumbled upon the modern Printmakers blog last week. The article on Jungnickel mentions that he & a few other secessionist print-makers used a stencil technique & that it might've borrowed from Oriental techniques...nothing definitive about how they did it...just that as graphic artists they did a fair amount of experimentation :( Guess that means if I wanted to go that route...gotta come up with my own method...

03 March, 2011 13:26  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

i'll tell you what i just told charles from modern printmakers: the entire issue of 'the studio' that contains an in-depth article on jungnickel doing this, from 1907, is at google books.

try THIS or do a google search for "ludwig jungnickel", then when you get the results, go to the books option under the 'other' menu.

03 March, 2011 13:54  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

and if clicking on THIS (in above comment) works, it's the top one.

03 March, 2011 13:57  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

and... it's here.

archive.org was down yesterday, but it's up again today, and if you read it online it's the easiest option, i think.

03 March, 2011 14:03  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

the archive.org version is BY FAR better quality; there's just no comparison in the beauty of the reproductions.

03 March, 2011 14:08  
Blogger vitalik shu said...

lovely post! thanks)

04 March, 2011 00:30  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

thanks, my friend.

04 March, 2011 15:54  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I found 'degres des ages' copied by fujita.
I hope you'll find it.d

05 March, 2011 14:12  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

i don't know what happened with your posts, d-- i guess the holes in my head are getting bigger!

i was not able to get through with that url, however this one: http://www.museedelimage.fr/joomla/index.php/expositions/expos-precedentes/53-clavie got me there, i think. but i'll admit -- i'm still confused.

but thank you thank you for thinking of this!

05 March, 2011 18:03  

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