Nature provides materials that are useful to Asian Art. Bamboo, wood, silk and many others are abundant in Asia and dominate its art motifs which are also inspired by nature. Asian art is rich in symbols of longevity, power, happiness, peace, strength, or good health.
Installation art is characteristic of modern Asia. Artists combine found objects with objects from nature to express ideas, feelings, or experiences. Most of them are not intended to be sold but to make a statement of conviction. Many Indonesian, Thai, Japanese, and Korean artists have made it to the hall of fame and mount exhibitions globally.
Wood, bamboo, and silk are abundant in Asia and are therefore seen in almost every aspect of life. Wood wall art, hand painted or printed on four panels, usually depict the four seasons: winter, spring, summer, or fall. Harmony with nature is seen in Asian screens or dividers that can be united or taken apart as separate art pieces.
Asian fans made of bamboo, silk, and screen can decorate the walls. There are many other artworks made of wood, bamboo and silk in Asia.
Asian art is rich in symbols. The bamboo tree is a favorite in Asian art. The long life of bamboo makes it a Chinese symbol of longevity. In Japan, a Shinto shrine is surrounded with bamboo trees to protect it against evil. In India, the fermented bamboo, khorisa, is a remedy for impotence, infertility, and menstrual pains. In Vietnam, bamboo symbolizes the spirit of Voninam martial arts, the Vietnamese hometown, the soul and some virtues and values, such as being gentlemanly, straightforwardness, hard work, optimism, unity, and adaptability.
Because of its importance, bamboo is the favorite subject matter of Asian painting. Bamboo trees are shown in variety of colors, sizes, and angles. They were mostly done on paper but today, commercial objects are also painted with bamboo leaves and trees.
Bamboo also serves numerous functions: kitchenware, furniture, architectural construction material, bamboo window blinds, material for painting, cylindrical brush holder, holder of poems on scrolls, household articles, and weapons such as bows and arrows.
China is known as the Kingdom of Bamboo because of its more than 400 species of bamboo. Here, the bamboo is widely used for household articles such as mate, beds, pillows, benches, chairs, cabinets, buckets, chopsticks, spoons, baskets, handheld fans and musical instruments such as flute. Also found in malls are bamboo arts and crafts which include toy animal, lanterns, flower baskets, trays, tea boxes, screens, and curtains. Bamboo weaving is also practiced in many provinces of China. In all of these items, Asian art is easily practiced because of the symbolic images that decorate them.
Furniture making has been part of Asian culture and life. Done in wood, furniture makers are trained in carving animals, plants, and objects that carry symbolism in Asian culture. In China, for example, tables are made in different heights, each one appropriate to the role and authority of each person for which the table is intended. Although modern technology today has made furniture making much easier, Asians do hand carved furniture in narra and other hard wood to maintain quality and standard.
In Thailand, intricate wood carving is done looking almost three dimensional but always depicting the symbols and figures important to its culture.
The finest silk is made in Asia. Its designs are usually delicate flower motifs, which may be printed or hand embroidered. There are also pagodas and ancient temples, landscapes with layers of mountains, human characters, or dragons. Silk is used for textile sewn on clothing, bed sheets, curtains, and many others. Painting on silk is scrolled and stored in wood furniture. The images on silk are symbols of Asian art that convey good fortune, happiness, wisdom, or good health.
In every society, at any given point of time, there is a tendency for people to form groups and develop their group identities. Ancient India was no different.
There are similar practices that are more or less common to different streams of human civilizations that took root at different points of time in different continents. Mediation practices and several devotional rituals followed by Eastern Orthodoxy are also similar to Buddhist practices.
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