Japanese Art and a Spice of Ukiyo-e: Mountains in Blue and the Kami of Shinto
Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
The modern Japanese artist, Sawako Utsumi, hails from northern Japan. In this article, the focus is on three recent art pieces related to stunning mountains. Unlike this art piece, the faith of Shinto played a significant part in her last two mountain themed art pieces, even if on the margins to the eye while being central overall.
Utsumi based on her individual creativity and knowing the eventual linkage focuses on stunning mountains in different shades of blue. This delightful aspect ignites the art pieces both individually and collectively.
In her two previous art pieces in this current trilogy titled Spirit of Ukiyo-e in the Light of Shinto and Spirit of Shinto and Ukiyo-e in the Light of Nature, the fusion of the indigenous faith of Japan and nature shone brightly. After all, the religion of Shinto is fully interwoven with the mystery of nature. Therefore, adorable Shinto shrines throughout Japan dot the landscape naturally and the spirit world of Shintoism is equally shaped by the reality of nature.
I state in a past article that “Recently, the modern Japanese artist, Sawako Utsumi, produced two stunning pieces of art based on the fusions of ukiyo-e, the gentle influence of Shintoism and the power of nature. These two pieces of art are titled the Spirit of Ukiyo-e in the Light of Shinto and Spirit of Shinto and Ukiyo-e in the Light of Nature. Given this reality, Utsumi is focused on bringing these two art pieces together based on delightful color schemes, playing on nature, the mystery of the mind, the lasting legacy of ukiyo-e, and the endless influence of the Shinto faith that remains within easy reach.”
Intriguingly, in her latest art piece that connects the other two, then the sole focus is nature itself. Despite this, the art piece titled Spirit of Ukiyo-e Illuminated by Stunning Nature isn’t actually excluding nature – when viewed from the trilogy and the meaning of kami.
Indeed, the latest art piece is a mirage that can be viewed from the ending, or in reverse from nature to people. In other words, all people enter this world and leave based on death but in the world of Shinto the reality of life, nature, spirits, and other factors, is a continuing cycle. Therefore, the kami exists even if people know little – or even if the art piece no longer connects directly to the human world.
The BBC says, “Kami are not inherently different in kind from human beings or nature – they are just a higher manifestation of the life energy… an extraordinary or awesome version… Kami don’t exist in a supernatural universe – they live in the same world as human beings and the world of nature.”
Overall, Utsumi is playing on the kami theme above, while utilizing the beauty of ukiyo-e, and illuminating this with stunning mountains that unify the bigger picture.
Lee Jay Walker
http://sawakoart.com – Sawako Utsumi personal website
http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/sawako-utsumi.html – Sawako Utsumi and where you can buy her art, postcards, bags, and other products. Also, individuals can contact her for individual requests.