800px hiroshige van gogh 2Japonisme is a French word used in the middle to late 1800’s to describe the impact of Japanese art on Western art.  In 1854 japan began trading again with western countries after 216 years of alienation (see ‘Treaty of Kanagawa” below) Japanese art, including ceramics (porcelains), woodcuts and screens quickly became very popular, particularly in the Netherlands and France. The European World Fair of 1862 together with the Paris Exposition Universelle in1867 featured significant presentations of Japanese art.  Western Impressionist artists including Monet, Degas, Gauguin and Van Gogh were influenced by these displays. Van Gogh in particular admired  Ukiyo-e, Japanese wood-block prints.  Japanese art, including ceramics (porcelains), woodcuts and screens quickly became very popular, particularly in the Netherlands and France.In 1886 Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890) moved to Paris and in 1887 painted copies of works by renowned landscape printmaker Utagawa Hiroshige (1797-1858).

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Native Animals Of Australia and Japan

lathams snipe 07664Japanese Snipe

An associate of mine recently reminded me of another connection between Japan and Australia. The subject being Gallinago hardwickii, known locally as Latham’s’ Snipe or Japanese Snipe.This bird is migratory and flies all the snipeway from Japan to the east coast of Australia each year.

Of particular interest to us ‘locals’ is that one of its destinations is the ‘Australian Botanic Garden’, Mount Annan (formerly ‘Mount Annan Botanic Garden’). This world –class garden is well known to Campbelltown residents.

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The Pearling Days

Australia /Japan: The pearling days

Featuring Broome, a sea-port in Western Australia and AMA, the ‘Sea Daughters’ of Japan

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Broome, (Western Australia). In 1861 the oyster Pinctada maxima appeared in Roebuck Bay, Broome. Subsequent study of this oyster soon proved it to have the largest pearl shell in the world. At this time the most valuable part of the oyster was its shell, the inside of which came to be commonly known as ‘Mother of Pearl’.  This material was quickly in high demand worldwide for the manufacture of buttons and several other widely used products. At this stage of the industry, pearls were not regularly found and were regarded as a sort of by-product. Very soon approx. 75% of the worlds’ supply of ‘Mother of Pearl’ (not pearls) came from the Broome area.

Broome’s relationship with the great ocean peaked again in 1889 when a submarine cable was laid through Broome and not Darwin as expected.

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Anatomy of a Japanese Garden

Japanese Gardens appeared around 700 CE (Tang Dynasty) with designs built around collections of plants, rocks and water suggesting larger and more complex landscapes. A typical Japanese garden may seem quite small if compared for example to  The Australian Botanic Garden  Mount Annan ( formerly “Mount Annan Botanic Garden”) (110ha) or Sydney’s’ Taronga Park Zoo (28 ha) to name just two.

Campbelltown City is fortunate to have a highly regarded Japanese Garden located on the grounds of The Campbelltown City Art Centre. The Tea House located in this garden was a Bicentenary gift from Campbelltown’s Sister City, Koshigaya in Japan in 1988.

Japanese Garden Types:

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1) “Dry Landscape Garden” (“Karesansui”)

– Water is not used in this design. Instead it uses raked gravel and sand to give the appearance of water. Sometimes three or more small moss covered rocks with small shrubs growing on them are part of the design.

These gardens are often found at meditation temples.

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