A TRACTATE ON JAPANESE AESTHETICS PDF

Finding an appropriate guide can be tricky. Indeed, when seeking introduction to unfamiliar topics, I am wary of two types of books: the highly technical, impenetrable beasts dense with signs and shortcuts aimed at experts in a neighbouring field, and the colloquial, jokey-breezy anecdotal stories filled with mental candyfloss aimed as those desiring educational fairgrounds. Once in a while, I find myself in either readership, but usually the fairest, quickest route lies through the middle ground, and even then I require a particularly fortuitous path that caters to my strengths. An introduction to Japanese aesthetics has been long in the planning, and only recently did I find an apt foothold.

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Shelves: a-english , n-non-fiction , t-art , in-translation-ja-ko-zh When seeking an introduction to an unfamiliar topic, I am wary of two types of books: the highly technical, impenetrable beasts dense with signs and meta-signs aimed at experts in a neighbouring field, and the colloquial, jokey-breezy anecdotal stories filled with mental candyfloss aimed as those seeking educational fairground entertainment. Once in a while, I find myself in either readership, but usually I seek a middle ground, and even then I require a particularly fortuitous opening into a When seeking an introduction to an unfamiliar topic, I am wary of two types of books: the highly technical, impenetrable beasts dense with signs and meta-signs aimed at experts in a neighbouring field, and the colloquial, jokey-breezy anecdotal stories filled with mental candyfloss aimed as those seeking educational fairground entertainment.

Once in a while, I find myself in either readership, but usually I seek a middle ground, and even then I require a particularly fortuitous opening into a subject that caters to my strengths and knowledge. For example: If aesthetics in the West is mainly concerned with theories of art, that of Japan has always been concerned with theories of taste. What is beautiful depends not upon imagination as Addison thought nor qualities proper in the object as Hume said nor in its paradoxes as Kant maintained but rather on a social consensus.

You may be unfamiliar with Addison, Hume, and Kant, yet the gist of what Richie is saying remains intact. Likewise, familiarity with the names only enhances the experience. Richie covers a lot of details, though this is an eighty-page treatise, not a textbook or systematic study, so to some it may appear like the structure is haphazard. I enjoyed being free of a strict setup. Especially in such a vast subject as the aesthetics of another culture, following a formal learning curve can be overwhelming.

Having the informal structure allowed me to get a feeling for the ideas, without having to master volumes of terminology and history. Anecdotes helped. One famous anecdote illustrates his method. Hearing of it Hideyoshi demanded that he be invited to visit. So he was, but when he arrived all the morning glories were no more; they had all been scythed.

Perturbed, Hideyoshi retired to the nearby tea house, and there the modest flower arrangement in the alcove was a single morning glory, the only survivor, superb in its focused simplicity. The warlord is supposed to have stared, then nodded, and said that he understood the lesson.

The Glossary at the end defines succinctly the terms mentioned in the book. Though the words in the Glossary and my application of them in the previous sentence may give the appearance of simplicity, any simplicity—to use the word deliberately for its core relation to wabi and sabi—is deceptive.

Depths, I am now more motivated to see revealed. It is still believed that, although the elements found common to beauty are perhaps universal, it is their reception the universal standard that creates the excellence of the art.

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