By Donald Richie
This provocative booklet is a tractate—a treatise—on attractiveness in jap paintings, written within the demeanour of a zuihitsu, a free-ranging collection of rules that “follow the brush” anyplace it leads. Donald Richie appears at how perceptual values in Japan have been drawn from uncooked nature after which converted through stylish expressions of sophistication and flavor. He explains aesthetic suggestions like wabi, sabi, conscious, and yugen, and ponders their relevance in artwork and cinema today.
Donald Richie is the major explorer of eastern tradition in English, and this paintings is the fruits of sixty years of gazing and writing from his domestic in Tokyo.
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Additional info for A Tractate on Japanese Aesthetics
The non-empiricist conception must also be supported by arguments that are robust in the face of possible empiricist counters. I shall critically examine two kinds of anti-empiricist strategies, one indirect and the other direct. Indirect strategies try to undermine empiricist claims about a work’s artistic properties by appealing to possible differences in the artistic values of works not explicable in empiricist terms. I shall argue that such strategies are inconclusive. Direct strategies, on the other hand, point to properties not explicable in empiricist terms that must be accepted as properly artistic given the role such properties play in our critical and appreciative discourse about artworks.
While the empiricist may object that some of the latter properties are merely “art-historical,” it would surely greatly impoverish our critical and appreciative discourse about musical works to exclude all of these kinds of properties as irrelevant to the artistic appreciation of works. Once we have admitted some of these properties as properly artistic, however, it is difficult for the empiricist to find principled reasons to exclude the others, given that all are functions of the same sorts of musico-historical variables and of the actual history of making of the work.
The artistic properties and the artistic value of a work depend not merely upon its manifest properties, but also upon which category it belongs to, and whether its manifest properties are standard or variable relative to that category. Two objects with identical manifest properties might possess different artistic properties and warrant very different judgments of artistic value if assigned to different artistic categories. Walton offers the following example. We are to imagine a culture with a category of artworks called guernicas.
A Tractate on Japanese Aesthetics by Donald Richie