By W. Puck Brecher
Eccentric artists are "the vagaries of humanity" that inhabit the deviant underside of jap society: This used to be the realization drawn through pre-World battle II commentators on such a lot early glossy eastern artists. Postwar scholarship, because it sought for proof of Japan's sleek roots, concluded the other: The eccentric, mad, and unusual are ethical exemplars, paragons of advantage, and shining hallmarks of recent cognizance. lately, the pendulum has swung back, this time in want of viewing those oddballs as mess ups and dropouts with no lasting cultural importance. This paintings corrects the disciplinary (and exclusionary) nature of such interpretations via reconsidering the unexpected and dramatic emergence of aesthetic eccentricity in the course of the Edo interval (1600-1868). It explains how, in the course of the interval, eccentricity (ki) and insanity (kyo) constructed and proliferated as subcultural aesthetics. via excavating a number of generations of early sleek Japan's eccentric artists, it demonstrates that individualism and strangeness carried enormous ethical and cultural price. certainly, Edo society fetishized a number of marginal personae--the recluse, the loser, the wicked, the outsider, the saint, the mad genius--as neighborhood heroes and paragons of ethical advantage. This e-book concludes confluence of highbrow, aesthetic, and social stipulations enabled a number of concurrent heterodoxies to crystallize round strangeness as a favorite cultural strength in eastern society. A research of remarkable historic and disciplinary breadth, The Aesthetics of Strangeness additionally makes huge use of basic resources, many formerly ignored in present English scholarship. Its insurance of the full Edo interval and engagement with either chinese language and local jap traditions reinterprets Edo-period tastes and perceptions of normalcy. by means of marriage ceremony paintings historical past to highbrow background, literature, aesthetics, and cultural perform, W. Puck Brecher strives for a commonly interdisciplinary standpoint in this subject. Readers will observe that the members that shape the spine of his examine lend credence to a brand new interpretation of Edo-period tradition: a transforming into valuation of eccentricity inside creative and highbrow circles that exerted indelible affects on mainstream society. The Aesthetics of Strangeness demystifies this emergent paradigm through illuminating the stipulations and tensions less than which sure rubrics of strangeness-- ki and kyo particularly--were appointed as aesthetic standards. Its revision of early glossy jap tradition constitutes a major contribution to the sphere
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Additional resources for The Aesthetics of Strangeness: Eccentricity and Madness in Early Modern Japan
A mob, incited by one of his essays, burned his house; his books were censored, seized, and also burned. In 1601 he was finally thrown in prison, where he committed suicide the following year. Li Zhi recognized that the value of individual endowments is endorsed by all major East Asian creeds: Mencius famously articulates the individual’s inherent goodness; Zhu Xi Confucianism notes the indistinguishability of original nature (honzen no sei) from principle (ri); and Wang Yangming prioritizes the centrality of intuition (ryōchi).
7 Strangers need not be foreigners or supernatural entities, however. In his study of outsiders and folk religion in the Tokugawa period, Yoshida Teigo has noted that in rural communities, newcomers, as well as itinerant merchants and peddlers traveling between villages, generated suspicion and were variously feared, chastised, or worshipped. Often viewed as magico-religious adepts (gyōja) able to inflict spirit possession on others, they were commonly blamed or credited for a range of unexplainable phenomena, for causing madness in some and bestowing good fortune on others, for example.
Dong’s Southern School used this principle of internalization to produce fantasy, grotesquery, and distortion in order to recast the world as 34 Contexts of Strangeness something unfamiliar and unsettling but also as a place where the impossible became possible. 28 As eccentric scholar-artists also experimented with dry-brush techniques, the uncanny acquired an aesthetic of intentional deformity and ugliness. Pale, dim, desiccated landscapes were fitting to those who constructed their new identities around the enlightened cripples and outcasts modeled in Zhuangzi.
The Aesthetics of Strangeness: Eccentricity and Madness in Early Modern Japan by W. Puck Brecher