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Ideals of the East: The Spirit of Japanese Art

3.45  ·  Rating details ·  73 ratings  ·  9 reviews
Written by the foremost authority of the era on Oriental archeology and art, this extremely influential book offers a brief but concise introduction to Asian art. First published in 1883, it responded to a vogue in Western culture for a growing awareness and appreciation of Japanese artistic expressions of beauty and philosophy — a perspective that remains fresh and valid. ...more
Paperback, Dover Books on Art, Art History, 128 pages
Published March 11th 2005 by Dover Publications (first published 1903)
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Feb 07, 2014 rated it liked it
This book was written during the Meiji Period and as such does not have a modern perspective. It is also quite dense and meandering. However, it does provide an overview of art through out the history of Japan. Okakura opens the book with "Asia is one" and argues that all of Asia is interconnected. While there is a sense of Okakura's feeling about Japanese superiority, it highlights the flow of ideas throughout East Asia and the impact that Okakura believes this had on Japanese art. The book ...more
May 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
The Ideals of the East was one of the first books to give Western readers an Eastern perspective on Asian aesthetic ideals and it was perhaps Okakura’s intention to correct the conclusions of foreign scholars with a limited cultural understanding of Asia by writing it.

It makes for a very fascinating read, not only for its general view of Japanese and Asian art in a historical context, but also because of the unique perspective Okakura offers of Asian views before the 20th century political
Interessante spunto sull'estetica e l'arte giapponese partendo dagli albori - e quindi la forte influenza indiana e cinese - fino al 1902, anno della pubblicazione del libro.
Okakura, morto nel 1912, copre fino al periodo Meiji e dunque questo libro è da intendersi privo dell'evoluzione artistica giapponese dal 1900 ad oggi. Non è da considerarsi un compendio, quanto più un excursus che offre interessanti spunti di approfondimento sia dell'arte che della storia del giappone. Il volume, ben
Dec 20, 2014 rated it did not like it
This book is unreadable.

A sample passage, picked out more-or-less at random:

Buddhism, the predominating impulse of the period, was, of course, that of the second Indian (monastic) phase. Gensho (Hiouen-Tsang) was a pupil of Mitrasena, a disciple of Vasubandhu, and through his great translations and commentaries he, on his return from India, inaugurated the new school known as the Hosso sect, of which the idea seems to have been at work even before his time. Kenshu, assisted by Gissananda of
Rod Medina
May 09, 2015 rated it it was ok
This book is filled with useful information, but it is a very dry read. I only recently discovered my passion for reading so maybe it's inexperience, but I found it really hard to keep up with Mr. Okakura's writing style, getting lost in all his rhetoric. I think of 'Ideals of the East' more as reference type read in the sense that it's not very interesting, but chuck full of history.
Wayward Child
Oct 16, 2012 rated it liked it
This book follows the evolution of art through many stages, from the earliest recorded times to modern ones. The ideals of the East shows us just what makes the Japanese art so distinctive and unique.
Michael Anderson
Jun 26, 2016 rated it liked it
Written in the early 1900s, this book describes the cultural evolution of asian art, from a Japanese perspective. Densely written, it's slow going, but contains some interesting facts and may or may not be worth it to you, depending on your level of fascination with asian art influences.
morning Os
Sep 18, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: japanese-history
This is a historical primary source.
Robert Burgos
May 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
Outdated nowadays, but very helpful for seeing perspectives of Art History and Japanese Art in the early 20th century.
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Okakura Kakuzō (岡倉覚三), also known as Okakura Tenshin (岡倉 天心), was a Japanese scholar who contributed the development of arts in Japan. Outside Japan, he is chiefly remembered today as the author of 'The Book of Tea'.

Born in Yokohama to parents originally from Fukui, Okakura learned English while attending a school operated by Christian missionary, Dr. Curtis Hepburn. At 15, he entered Tokyo