Art exchange

Art exchange

Seen at the Tokyo National Museum, the above folded screen is Mountain Valley in Spring, an oil on silk, painted in 1935 by Matsubaynshi Keigetsu.

Do you view Japanese painted folding screens or sliding doors, or decorated ceramics and clothing as “art”?

Probably yes, thanks to a modern-day perspective that now accepts any material can be a canvas for artistic expression.

But, much to the chagrin of the Japanese, this was not always the prevailing view of the western art establishment. A perspective that was to change, thanks partly to the Japanese Government’s showcasing of their traditional crafts, by hosting exhibitions and supporting art schools, in the late 19th/early 20th century Meiji period, as the country sought to leave behind a period of isolated feudalism.

So next time you go to an art gallery and are told a pile of bricks is art, think back to the Japanese screen painter.

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As if to reinforce the fact that folded screens are art, Matsubayashi Keigetsu’s beautiful Pine Trees painted about 400 years ago was given the full modern-era video showcasing
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