Art History Survey II Katya

ArtHistory Survey II




Thedepiction of ‘The Great Wave’ about to crush three fishing boatswith their frightened fishermen is recognized as the world’squintessential Japanese art. Mount Fuji off the island is visiblewith what looks like snow falling on its peak. The snow comes fromthe split droplets of the gigantic wave. Hokusai the originator ofthis great art made it usingcolorwood block printing.

‘TheGreat Wave’ is interpreted by western folk to show the Japaneseunstable and uncertain international political and commercial stateof affairs. After having been secluded from the rest of the world forover two hundred years, Japan was facing a new era as Americangunboats were forcing it to open up her shores to the rest of theworld.

Itsfirst significance is recognized for its impact and impressions ithad on European artists. These artists include Van Gogh, Monet, andWhistler. The inspirations took place when many of ‘The GreatWave’s impressions found their way into Europe after 1959. As aresult, Japanese traditions became widely absorbed in Europe andAmerica and further inspired western fine and applied art.

Thesecond significance of the print is that it has become so popularboth locally in Japan and as well in the rest of the world thusmaking it a perfect symbol representing Japan and Japanese servicesand products. The waves in the print suggest the energy to travel outinto foreign lands and discovering new wealth.

Thethird significance of this particular Japanese art is how itrepresents a fusion of European materials, conventions and Japanesesensibility. The exotic nature of the print was enhanced by Hokusaiwhen he used Prussian bluecolorto work on the print. ‘TheGreat Wave‘ showed the world how Japan yearned to join theinternational community.


Chineseart is characteristically known for its clarity in terms of beingable to convey its energy, spirit and its life. The Chinese artistexclusively uses black and white ink and a brush to calligraphicallycapture the outward appearance and the inner essence of a subject.

Thefirst significant contribution of Chinese art is in the influence ithas had on the bureaucratic commercial world as we know today.Through the preservation of calligraphic manuscripts on bronze metal,bones and stone made by prolific calligraphers, the company seal tookform. These calligraphic manuscripts came under regulation and wereeventually maintained exclusively as a seal of ownership.

Thesecond significant contribution of Chinese art is that it was throughthe excellent works by devoted calligraphers that the rich Chinesehistory was recorded and stored. These calligraphers were absorbedinto the top echelons of the civil service to perform stately duties.Chief amongst them was to maintain and perpetuate the moral andcreative ideals set by the political and cultural models of ancientChina. It was by these measures and standards written and interpretedby the calligraphers that the Chinese Emperors were judged. TheNight-Shining White is an example of such a measure of standard setfor the Emperors [ CITATION Mar08 l 2057 ].

Thethird significant contribution of Chinese art is brought out in theway dissidents would express their dissatisfaction with the Emperor.Ignored former advisers and censured scholars would turn to art tocommunicate their beliefs. Such art would, in turn, expose thenegligent Emperor. The exposed Emperors had their thrones challengedwhich in turn led reprisals and violent change in leadership.


Hearn, M. K. (2008, June). Essays. (H. T. History, Producer) Retrieved October 4, 2016, from THE MET: