Why did the Tokugawa permit the 'Floating World' to operate - Essay Example

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In the 18th and 19th centuries, the Ukiyo-e was produced as an art in Japan and represented the ‘floating world’ that comprised of Japanese Kabuki theatre, geisha, salons, brothels, social and sexual intercourse. Some of the artistic elements of the floating world were the dolls and doll art, paintings of the 18th and 19th centuries, calligraphy, tattooing and folklore…
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Why did the Tokugawa permit the Floating World to operate
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Download file to see previous pages The representative art of the floating world in Japan was the traditional Japanese form of art and showed Japanese cultural influences merged with Western forms to provide originality in form and presentation of such artistic creations. Ukiyo-e is thus a form of Japanese traditional art that used art as a form of social criticism and represents society in all its aspects. In fact Ukiyo-e represented all cultural forms at the time and issues related to social conflicts and cultural changes, sexual taboos and attitudes towards social norms, war and art life. A man’s role in a rapidly changing environment is represented in these art forms and in this discussion I will highlight why the Tokugawa shogunate permit the Floating world to operate within Japan.
In this context a novel ‘An Artist of the Floating World’ has been written by K.Ishiguro which represented WWII Japan and showed how the attitudes and paintings have changed in recent times within the limits of Japanese traditional art. The use of Kimono and geisha themes, the popularity of Japanese samurais and sushi are all features of the Ukiyo-e period and the period represents a unique Japanese culture highlighting traditional Japanese forms, arts, food and everything representative of traditional Japan. Ukiyo-e, the traditional Japanese art form came into existence during the Edo period (1615- 1868) along with the emergence of the unified government of Japan and growth of a large urban population. Edo has now been transformed to modern Tokyo and the pleasure quarters of the modern city was known as Ukiyo or the floating world (Yasutaka et al, 2000). Ukiyo is portrayed negatively in Buddhism as the term means ephemereal or worldly and transitory pleasures and gradually came to be known as a world of sensual pleasures that are valued in the modern world (Kabayashi, 1992).
Ukiyo-e literally means pictures or images of the floating world or the world of pleasures and represents an art form in traditional Japan that highlighted these different dimensions of pleasure, and art that recorded the life vein of Edo at that time - the geishas and courtesans, the kabuki actors, samurais, and the art on these themes was based on the traditional ukiyo-e form of woodblock printing. The kabuki theatre highlighted and patronized the merchant class as well as erotic art and landscape of Japan (Hebbitt, 1975).
The representations of Mt Fuji, depiction of waves and scenes of landscapes and seascapes show the views of nature and represents classical style and Japanese emphasis on nature, values and tradition. Some of the main Japanese artists who represented the floating world in their art and paintings are Hiroshige, Kuniyoshi, Hokusai, Kunisada, and Utamaro. The Ukiyo-e artists produced erotic prints, paintings and subjects within the Shunga. Ukiyo-e had a focus on sexual and erotic themes and celebrated sensuality and sexuality and many modern paintings are simply representations of the older ones. The Ukiyo-e artists have used their art to expose political corruption, social disorder, as well as violence and chaos along with gestures of emotion and drama as well as varied sexual and erotic themes.
However the Ukiyo-e art was allowed to flourish by the Tokugawa shogunate but in 1850 with the fall of the Shogunate, Japan's politics became enmeshed in a civil war and the Ukiyo-e art at this time lost its patronage of the Tokugawa Shogunate and also highlighted the violence and political disruption of the situation as the Tokugawa shogunate collapsed.
In the initial stages of the Edo period, the region had a feudal political system with a ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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