The Art of Impermanence: Japanese Works from the John C. Weber Collection and Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection


by Dr. Adriana Dr Proser (Author)

The book includes works ranging in date from the Final Jomon period (ca. 1000–300 B.C.E.) to the 20th century. This dazzling range of art reflects the broad, yet nuanced ways that the notion of impermanence manifests itself in the arts of Japan.

That the world is constantly in flux is a basic tenant of Japanese philosophy and recognizing the aesthetic or symbolic suggestion of ephemerality is key to the appreciation of much of Japan's artistic production. In Buddhism, which has had a major impact on Japanese culture, the concept of impermanence is closely related to the desire to escape the cycle of rebirth and death through enlightenment. During the Heian period (794-1185), courtiers regularly incorporated allusions to impermanence into literature and other arts. By the sixteenth century, tea masters commonly organized Chanoyu, the Way of Tea, to stimulate participants to tap into feelings of wistfulness associated with the transience of life.

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