Friday, July 9, 2010

Korean Landscape Painting

"In Korea, landscape painting—rather than figure paintings or historical paintings as in the Western world—became the preeminent form in part because nature itself was considered sacred" — Religious Influence on Korean Art. "Nature was seen as a living entity," the artcile continues. "It symbolized both an integral part of human life and a higher spiritual being." Coming to mind is what Mr. Wendell Berry of Kentucky had to say in The Unsettling of America: Culture & Agriculture:
    Old Chinese landscapes reveal, among towering mountains, the frail outline of a roof or a tiny human figure passing along a road on foot or horseback. These landscapes are almost always populated. There is no implication of dehumanized interest in a nature for "its own sake." What is represented is a world in which human beings belong, but which does not belong to human beings in any tidy economic sense; the Creation provides a place for humans, but it is even greater than humanity and within it even great men are small. Such humility is the consequence of accurate insight, ecological in its bearing, not a pious deference to "spiritual" value.

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Omnes Sancti et Sanctæ Coreæ, orate pro nobis.