Fountains Abbey in Yorkshire through Japanese eyes: Buddhism, Christianity, and Shintoism

Fountains Abbey in Yorkshire through Japanese eyes: Buddhism, Christianity, and Shintoism

The contemporary Japanese artist, Sawako Utsumi, who hails from Northern Japan, once more creates a lovely art piece. Spiritually, her background is based on Shintoism and tinged with Buddhism based on the cultural legacy. Yet, in general, the Shinto faith predominates despite paying deep respect during her visit to Buddhist temples. However, aspects of Christianity also appeal to Utsumi, even if this is in the cultural realm and based on small Christian churches appearing like folk Shintoism.

Unsurprisingly, Fountains Abbey in North Yorkshire appealed greatly to Utsumi based on visual images of this Grade I listed building. In her mindset, the terrible events of the Dissolution (1536-1541) – or the Dissolution of the Monasteries – can be understood, to a degree, by the stunning grounds and buildings that remain of Fountains Abbey. This relates to the legacy of the spiritual effect that Fountains Abbey is still blessed with despite the terrible events of the Dissolution of the Monasteries.

In other words, the secularization of modern-day Japan and the United Kingdom are creating a religious vacuum that is being entered by new “soulless cultures.” The upshot of this is that major Christian Cathedrals in the United Kingdom – just like potent Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines in places like Koyasan, Kyoto, Nara, Nikko, and others – are important popular windows into a past that is often far-away from everyday life. Hence, these major centers of religion in Japan and the United Kingdom are still attracting countless numbers of people; despite vast numbers of ordinary Buddhist, Christian, and Shinto holy places struggling to attract worshippers in big numbers. However, often people who visit or pray are disconnected with the real tenets of the respective faiths based on secularization and modernization.

One can only imagine the utter devastation and disconnection felt by many Christian holy people and lay people during the Dissolution of the Monasteries. Likewise, in post World War Two in the land of the rising sun, it is clear that Buddhism and Shintoism were put on a back burner. This is based on the demands of America put on Japan and the collaboration of Japanese political elites. Therefore, the new mantra focused heavily on modernization and high technology fused with many precepts that apply to Confucian logic in the realm of ethics and educational attainment.

The New Statesman reports, “It is said that Japanese marry in a Shinto ritual and live life with Confucian ethics, and the deceased is buried and its soul is transformed into ancestors in a Buddhist ritual. These three events are essential factors in a person’s life and the Japanese religions are centered round these three elements, birth, living and death.”

Hence, just like Shinto focuses on ancestors, Utsumi witnesses Fountains Abbey based on a plethora of different factors. For example, the spiritual realm of Fountains Abbey survives both the Dissolution of the Monasteries and modern-day secularization. Therefore, despite Fountains Abbey being but a shadow of a once thriving Christian holy place, just like Shinto ancestors that have long perished, the spiritual psyche remains potent based on the connection of the senses.

Utsumi is utilizing the life of the river by imbuing this flowing continuity inside the remnants of what is left of Fountains Abbey. In this sense, the power of nature in Shinto is a duality of the river within the spiritual mindset when visualizing – or visiting – the delightful Fountains Abbey. In other words, despite the passages of time the spiritual dimension of Fountains Abbey remains potent – just like nature – despite the countless upheavals done by humanity.

Overall, the end result is a delightful art piece by Utsumi who is fusing many themes. This is witnessed by the equal importance of the flowing life of the river that represents the spirituality that Fountains Abbey is blessed with, despite the terrible events of the Dissolution of the Monasteries. Therefore, nature and spirituality come together to create a multi-dimensional effect to this gorgeous art piece by Utsumi.

Lee Jay Walker

https://fineartamerica.com/featured/fountains-abbey-in-yorkshire-through-japanese-eyes-sawako-utsumi.html

https://fineartamerica.com/featured/art-of-japan-and-the-two-paths-of-shintoism-and-buddhism-holy-men-in-the-snow-without-abraham-sawako-utsumi.html

https://fineartamerica.com/featured/spirit-of-shinto-and-ukiyo-e-in-the-light-of-nature-sawako-utsumi.html

http://sawakoart.com

https://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/the-faith-column/2007/06/birth-life-japanese-shinto

 

Contemporary Japanese Artist and Shintoism: Kano School and Independent Spirit of Sawako Utsumi

Contemporary Japanese Artist and Shintoism: Kano School and Independent Spirit of Sawako Utsumi

 

Sawako Utsumi is a contemporary Japanese artist who hails from the land of the rising sun. In this art article, the emphasis is on the individualism of Utsumi who is paying utmost respect to two artists belonging to the Kano School of Art. Despite the respect being shown to Kano Motonobu (1476-1559) and Kano Chikanobu (1660-1728), it is abundantly clear that the independent spirit – and unique angle of Utsumi – creates a new approach.

The art pieces by Utsumi are titled In the Shadow of the Past: Utsumi and the Kano School and The Fading Spirit of Kano Chikanobu Awakened by Shintoism. Indeed, the Shinto angle by Utsumi is extremely significant because Buddhism during this period of Japanese history was dominant in major centers of power. Of course, Buddhism and Shintoism – and the powerful impact of Confucianism – flowed naturally either individually, based on fusions, interacted in various spheres of society, and so forth. Similarly, other ideas entered Japan from the Middle Kingdom (China), for example, Daoism.

Yet, for Utsumi, she is turning back to a different time period, whereby the Shinto faith solely guided the people of Japan before external faiths and philosophies impacted. At the same time, the color scheme and religious dominance of the Shinto shrine in both art pieces by Utusmi alter the role of the village depicted by Chikanobu – while moving further away from Motonobu.

I comment in a past article, in respect to homage being shown to Chikanobu, that The title is a reminder that in time all artists and famous people fade into dwindling influence culturally and scientifically, irrespective of the name. Yes, famous artists, philosophers, scientists, and so forth, remain well known but scratch under the surface and most are known superficially apart from specialists. However, holy religious people including Abraham, the Buddha, Jesus, Lord Ram, St. Paul, Mohammed, and many others from faiths already mentioned or from other faiths including Sikhism, remain potent just like they were born yesterday. Hence, Shintoism awakens the fading spirit of Chikanobu because the Shinto faith will continue to be culturally and religiously significant to Japan until the end of time, even if shadows encroach.”

Interestingly, Motonobu belongs to the pre-Edo period of Japan, while Chikanobu was born during the Edo period. Hence, the continuity of the Kano School of Art was maintained based on interaction and opening up to new artistic concepts, irrespective of how minor or major.

Overall, Utsumi is turning the clock back in order to return to a time when the Shinto faith guided in a very limited sense. In the eyes of Utsumi, Folk Shintoism responds to the natural environment in a special way. This is further enhanced by regional Shinto influences that differ throughout this land.

Lee Jay Walker

Please email Sawako Utsumi at sawakoart@gmail.com

https://fineartamerica.com/featured/the-fading-spirit-of-chikanobu-awakened-by-shintoism-sawako-utsumi.html

https://fineartamerica.com/featured/modern-japanese-art-in-the-shadow-of-the-past-utsumi-and-kano-school-sawako-utsumi.html

BELOW IS A NEW BOOK BASED ON THE ART OF SAWAKO UTSUMI

Book Review: Sawako Utsumi and her Kindred Spirit

European and Japanese Art: Buddhism, Christianity, Landscapes, Rinpa, Shintoism, Ukiyo-e, and Dutch Masters

http://www.lulu.com/shop/lee-jay-walker/sawako-utsumi-and-her-kindred-spirit/paperback/product-22830732.html – Please click on to order the book.

http://sawakoart.com

Contemporary Japanese Artist: The Fading Spirit of Kano Chikanobu Awakened by Shintoism

Contemporary Japanese Artist: The Fading Spirit of Kano Chikanobu Awakened by Shintoism

The contemporary Japanese artist Sawako Utsumi in her latest art piece titled The Fading Spirit of Kano Chikanobu Awakened by Shintoism, provides an adorable individual approach. This applies to a fusion of homage to Kano Chikanobu (1660-1728) along with a spark of individualism that takes you away from the original and then back again.

Another delightful approach by Utsumi applies to the Shinto angle. Indeed, while the impact of Buddhism, Confucianism, Daoism, and Shintoism was more powerful during the lifetime of Chikanobu (original art piece below), the contemporary artist focuses on the religious angle within her art piece. Of course, for Utsumi, the significance belongs to the indigenous faith of Shintoism that continues to endure in modern Japan, even if sometimes in the shadows.

The title is a reminder that in time all artists and famous people fade into dwindling influence culturally and scientifically, irrespective of the name. Yes, famous artists, philosophers, scientists, and so forth, remain well known but scratch under the surface and most are known superficially apart from specialists. However, holy religious people including Abraham, the Buddha, Jesus, Lord Ram, St. Paul, Mohammed, and many others from faiths already mentioned or from other faiths including Sikhism, remain potent just like they were born yesterday. Hence, Shintoism awakens the fading spirit of Chikanobu because the Shinto faith will continue to be culturally and religiously significant to Japan until the end of time, even if shadows encroach.

Chikanobu lived during the early Edo period and while Japan was mainly isolated – but not completely – the flows of the past continued. In other words, Chinese and Japanese classics impacted greatly on the famous Kano School of Art.

Utsumi herself plays on this but in the opposite direction because she is returning to the past. Therefore, while modern Japan is awash with modern technology, the reality of animation, communication via social media, skyscrapers, the impact of different cultures including America, and other realities, Utsumi binds her homage to the traditions of Shintoism. Equally important, Utsumi does this based on the distant approach taken by Shintoism, whereby nature and a subtle reality are more important than open proselytism or a rich theocratic dogma that belongs to other international faiths.

Lee Jay Walker

Please email Sawako Utsumi at sawakoart@gmail.com

https://fineartamerica.com/featured/the-fading-spirit-of-chikanobu-awakened-by-shintoism-sawako-utsumi.html

BELOW IS A NEW BOOK BASED ON THE ART OF SAWAKO UTSUMI

 

Book Review: Sawako Utsumi and her Kindred Spirit

European and Japanese Art: Buddhism, Christianity, Landscapes, Rinpa, Shintoism, Ukiyo-e, and Dutch Masters

http://www.lulu.com/shop/lee-jay-walker/sawako-utsumi-and-her-kindred-spirit/paperback/product-22830732.html – Please click on to order the book.

http://sawakoart.com

Japanese Art and a Spice of Ukiyo-e: Mountains in Blue and the Kami of Shinto

Japanese Art and a Spice of Ukiyo-e: Mountains in Blue and the Kami of Shinto

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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

Please email Sawako Utsumi at sawakoart@gmail.com

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.

http://fineartamerica.com/featured/spirit-of-ukiyo-e-illuminated-by-stunning-nature-sawako-utsumi.html

http://fineartamerica.com/featured/spirit-of-shinto-and-ukiyo-e-in-the-light-of-nature-sawako-utsumi.html?newartwork=true

http://fineartamerica.com/featured/spirit-of-ukiyo-e-in-the-light-of-shinto-sawako-utsumi.html