Day 4: Mirrors on Mirrors

This morning was devoted to getting more background on the topics that we would be presenting on later in the week. We had two lectures on Noh theatre and then another on Nehan paintings. I thought that the Noh lecture was great because having seen Noh before and finally understanding some of the elements and the subtleties behind the entire art form, I don’t feel as horrible as I did that I was completely lost. In fact, that’s how you’re supposed to feel! I’ll see if my new knowledge about Noh helps me out when we watch 2 performances on Sunday.

The Nehan paiting lecture though was not something I knew we were looking into. Nehan paintings specifically represent the scene of the Buddha’s passing and I’m wondering how that sort of ties into the 4 topics that we are researching…

Anywho, later on we visited another artisan, Yamamoto-san, who is a living cultural treasure because he is the last artisan of his kind. He makes mirrors, but specifically makkyo mirrors. Makkyo mirrors are carefully filed mirrors that project images when light is reflected on them. It’s unbelievable how precise Yamamoto-san is with his creations and how many steps go into the mirrors. He is using resources that are currently depleting but he continues to make these little pieces of history and that’s such a testament to the art you can find in different cultures. You might never have the chance to see a type of artwork again and therefore things have to be appreciated for how revolutionary their technique, how historically telling they are and in this case, how sacred too.

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