Monday, October 1, 2012

A slightly belated post to honor the Autumn full moon

Rabbit and Moon. Watanabe Shotei (Collection Asian Art Museum) Hanging scroll
Japanese, 1851-1918. Ink and colors on silk
Credit Line: Gift of Jeanne G. O'Brien in memory of James E. O'Brien
Instead of the “ man in the moon,”  East Asian cultures speak of the
“ rabbit in the moon.”  Chinese legend has the rabbit mixing an elixir,
while in Korea and Japan the rabbit is said to be pounding rice cakes
(mochi). These motifs are both associated with autumn, the season in
which the beauty of the moon is most appreciated.

Here, the Japanese artist Watanabe Seitei depicts a rabbit in front
of a full white moon shining in a cloudy night sky. The sparse stalks of
grass also hint that cooler weather has arrived.

Seitei worked in the Meiji period (1868– 1912), when Japan opened
its doors for the first time in several centuries to the West. Trained as a
painter, he was involved in the design of works to be sent to the Paris
Exposition of 1878 and was one of the first Japanese artists to travel to
Europe and America, where he was influenced by Western-style watercolor
and other Western painting methods.

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