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Lecture 22

FA 34a Lecture Notes - Lecture 22: Suzuki Harunobu, Brocade, Discrimination Based On Skin Color

Fine Arts
Course Code
FA 34a
Aida Wong

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The Silver Pavilion Lecture
Muromachi Art
The Garden of the Silver Pavilion in Kyoto was built as a retirement retreat for a 15th century
shogun. The Muromachi Period was chaotic with civil wars. It is suggested that it was intended
to cover the Pavilion with silver. The Garden of the Silver Pavilion also contains references to
Buddhism, specifically rebirth in the Pure Land. Two original surviving buildings at the Garden
include the Pavilion and a study room. The Garden includes a section called “The Sea of Silver
Sand” which may have been built/added after the Pavilion was initially created. The Sea consists
of rough and smooth patches which may have evoked waves. Dry gardens (aka Withered
Gardens) are gardens without water. Ryoanji is a Zen Buddhist temple in Kyoto built in the 15th
century. Gravel was raked to suggest water. The protruding rocks in the garden represent rising
islands in the sea of gravel.
Ukiyo-e means “pictures of the floating world” and was popular during the Edo Period (1615 –
1868). Many of them were distributed as woodblock prints. The Edo Period marked the end of
the period of civil war and was viewed as a period of peace. Brothels in the city of Edo were
licensed by the government and popular. Ukiyo-e depicted subjects typically of hedonistic
lifestyles. Moronobu’s Young Lovers (late 17th century) depicts an erotic scene between a
samurai and a geisha. Erotica was viewed by men, women, the elderly, the young, groups,
individuals, etc. Erotica served multiple functions. Some works were very explicit in content.
Harunobu’s Geisha on a Veranda (late 18th century, 1760s) is a brocade print. Harunobu
pioneered polychrome printing using multiple blocks. “Brocade prints” refer to its colorism akin
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