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Japanese Wave Painting

The Japanese Wave painting is a famous form of Japanese art. It involves using a flat canvas and painting the Japanese Shichihan, or a scroll used for meditation and Wudan, or wooden figures used in crafts. It is a technique that originated in the Kyoto Arts Festival during the seventh and eighth century. The term “ishiwa” (meaning “three fishes”) is applied to represent the phenomena of the three waves of the rising sun.

Many forms of this Japanese wave painting are represented in traditional japanese arts, but not all of them. Most people confuse the real art history with the works created during the Edo period, which was around 16eenth to nineteenth centuries. While most of the paintings during that time period are exaggerations, some interesting examples still exist. These paintings serve as a good introduction to the real art history of Japan.

A good example of a traditional japanese wave painting is the Hokusai. In particular, the Hokusai Woodblock Print is one of the most well-known and beautiful japanese works. This beautiful art work started as a carving from wood based on an indigenous Japanese myth. Legend has it that Shinto priestess once went to the woodcutting tree to seek the return of a bird she had lost. The priestess mistakenly believed that the bird's feather would give her wisdom and protection from many calamities in the future.

With the carving complete, the artist transferred the image to rice paper and made several copies of it. The original artist started decorating the Hokusai from the inside by carefully inscribing characters on the surface. The artist then cut small pieces of rice paper and used needle and thread to create the fur and different patterns on the paper. The result was a remarkable work that was hand-painted with wonderful bold strokes of rice paper. Hokusai was displayed as a small wooden statue at the entrance of a Shinto shrine and still today it attracts visitors who come to see the traditional japanese wave painting.

As you walk along the streets of any city in Japan you can see many Hokusai sculptures carved in great detail onto the walls. The subject of the painting varies but most commonly it is of an animal or a landscape scene. The artist used a brush to create the original design and he usually started by just looking at a picture on a newspaper or a magazine before completing the painting. Most artists began their career doing this type of artwork as a hobby. Today, most modern Japanese art history paintings are produced in clay. The original artist spent many hours at the keyboard creating the complex patterns that are characteristic of the great wave paintings.

One of the most important things to understand about the formation of japanese traditional japanese art history is that most artists used the phrase “hokusai” to describe their artwork even though they didn't actually paint a physical picture. When referring to a Hokusai, instead of saying “Hokusai statue” the artist would say “Japanese Great Wave Painting”. This is important to understand because while the term technically identifies a type of art it really just described what was being painted.

The art of Hokusai was handed down throughout the generations and only a select few were trained in this art form. Many artists were simply farmers in rural Japan and would spend their days traveling from place to place gathering wood, collecting insects, and taking pictures of different scenes. While they might look at a specific scene and identify it as a “hokusai”, the reality was that they took the basic shape of the image and superimpose a much larger version over a frame of rice paper. This method of construction gave them the ability to not only make detailed pictures of local scenery but also to decorate the walls of their home with symbolic images.

Today, if you walk into any Japanese home, you will find a large number of these woodblock prints. Most are simple paintings but there are some that have complex symbolic elements. There are many examples of the former such as the famous katsushika hokusai, Sanseki kites, Meiji jis, shoji screens, and many others. With such a vast amount of repetition in traditional japanese art, it is no surprise that the term “woodblock print” is no longer simply associated with the wooden blocks that were used for such a simple art form.

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