Saturday, September 27, 2008

Itabashi and Hokusai

Day 26 (-6) Ukiyoe which means "pictures of the floating world", is the name for Japanese woodblock prints woodcut and paintings produced between the 17th and the 20th centuries, featuring motifs of landscapes, tales from history, the theatre and pleasure quarters of Edo. Ukiyo-e were affordable because they could be mass produced. They were meant for mainly townsmen, not wealthy enough to afford an original painting. The original subject of ukiyo-e was city life, in particular activities and scenes from the entertainment district. Beautiful courtesans bulky sumo wrestlers and popular actors would be portrayed while engaged in appealing activities. Later on landscape also became popular.
The most well known is probably Hiroshige and his 53 stations of the Tokaido (road from Kyoto to Edo) and Hokusai and his 36 Views of Mt Fuji.
Discovered by the west in the late 1800's originals are now worth a small fortune ,a far cry form the day to day production of 100 years ago.
My favourite is Utamaro whose specialty was portraits of women. His work reachedEurope in the mid 19th century, where it was very popular, enjoying particular acclaim inFrance. He influenced the European Impressionists, particularly with his use of partial views, with an emphasis on light and shade.

Good news last night was that Sakurako had her baby on Thursday, a boy named Takumi 2.8 Kg. His timing is perfect as we can see them both when we go to Kyoto next weekend.
What inspired my subject for today was that I went to Itabashi, the last stop on the Mita line, to see a show Hokusai and his Disciples at the local area Art Museum. The show was really good , but no English translations, (not uncommon) but some good catalogues with translation so I read them in the lounge.
The area is out in the suburbs, the station Nishi Takashimadae is the last stop and surrounded by freeways, overpasses and high rise. A depressing looking spot!
But I followed my (inadequate) map, which showed this complex of freeway as a line, presumably a road that I kept to my left. After some imaginative interpretation I found the park wherein lay the Museum. My first sight was of a water fountain in the middle of the lake then into view came the local men at Saturday's activity! There was a beautiful set up for one man with sun screen umbrella and all.
Not sure if they caught anything, but I gather with fishing the gaol is not necessarily to get results.
On my way back home after some shopping I stopped in at the local Book Off for a cool drink and found they had live music from 3.30 so stayed there for a while with the crowd then walked on home just before the rain came. So a well timed day really.
Also read the last bit of the Grand final, (can't get live streaming or radio) so pleased with the Hawks , my choice for the final
Celia here tomorrow!


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