A Tractate on Japanese Aesthetics by Donald Richie

By Donald Richie

This provocative publication is a tractate—a treatise—on attractiveness in eastern artwork, written within the demeanour of a zuihitsu, a free-ranging collection of principles that “follow the brush” at any place it leads. Donald Richie appears to be like at how perceptual values in Japan have been drawn from uncooked nature after which converted through stylish expressions of sophistication and flavor. He explains aesthetic suggestions like wabi, sabi, conscious, and yugen, and ponders their relevance in artwork and cinema today.

Donald Richie is the main explorer of jap tradition in English, and this paintings is the fruits of sixty years of staring at and writing from his domestic in Tokyo.

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But if nothing else, Currie's view about film motion forces us to a new awareness of the grounds of the commonsense illusion view. Such, an awareness is invalu­ able given the increasing diversification of technological means for generating the impression of motion in film. 39 CHAPTER 3 AUTHORS H I P In Chapters 1 and 2 , we learnt that photographically-based film has dis­ tinctive capacities for artistically significant effects like representation, expression, formal play and realism. We might, therefore, assume that someone who creatively exploits these capacities is a film artist.

Imagine instead, Currie suggests, that it is an omnipotent and omnibenevolent god that feeds all of us our visual experiences. Even though our visual experiences are mediateq in this case, could we not still say that we see, thanks to the complete reliability of our source of visual experiences? Leaving this question aside, Walton comes up himself with a case that shows that natural dependence is not sufficient, on its own, for trans­ parency. He asks us to imagine a machine which is sensitive to the light reflected by an object such that it accurately records the object, but as a verbal description rather than as a picture.

At present, however, it appears that Walton's slope is even more slippery than his critics have assumed. Given just how slip­ pery, perhaps it is best not to step onto the slope in the first place. This brings us to Currie's classification of photographs as natural representa­ tions. Currie agrees with Walton's emphasis on the difference between what Currie calls the natural counterfactual dependence of photographs and the intentional counterfactual dependence of paintings. Whereas the appearance of a painting of something actual depends on the appearance of that thing only insofar as the painter's beliefs are similarly dependent, the appearance of a photograph depends on the appearance of its object regardless of what the photographer believes.

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