Thursday, August 29, 2019

#356 • Yūgen

Click here to purchase this painting #356

There are only so many ways to describe moonlight. I decided to use the word yūgen. Yūgen had flown by me on Facebook defined as a Japanese word to describe mystery and concealment. As it turns out, yūgen is one of the nine ancient Japanese aesthetics. Their meanings are greatly edited here, but for me, it is the words themselves that I find captivating for some reason - maybe because they are in and of themselves both beautiful and lyrical to look at and speak.

1. Wabi-sabi 佗寂 (Imperfection) - The philosophy of wabi-sabi is one of imperfection, impermanence and incompletion. 

2. Miyabi 雅 (Elegance) - Miyabi is about elegance, refinement and courtliness. It is also about the elimination of anything vulgar or unsightly. 

3. Shibui 渋い or Shibusa 渋さ (Simplicity) - The aesthetic ideal behind shibui is one of simplicity, subtlety and unobtrusiveness. 

4. Iki 粋 (Spontaneity and Originality) - Iki is often compared to its older and more universal cousin wabi-sabi. While iki is about simplicity and temporality, it also encapsulates qualities like originality, uniqueness and spontaneity. 

5. Jo-ha-kyū 序破急 (Modulation and Movement) - Jo-ha-kyū is the concept of modulation and movement. It can be thought about like a tempo in how you do things and connote how all things should begin slowly, build up quickly thereafter to a rising crescendo, and then end swiftly. 

6. Yūgen 幽玄 (Mystery and Concealment) - Yūgen is a concept that values mystery and concealment. It describes an element of profound depth with questions that may remain unanswered even as the plot unravels. 

7. Geidō 藝道 (Discipline and System) - This concept is embodied in the discipline, ethics and systematised approach to apprenticeship embodied in many Japanese traditional arts. 

8. Ensō 円相 (Void and Absolution) - Ensō is represented by a circle that symbolises a holistic form of absolution, enlightenment, strength, elegance, the Universe and the void. 

9. Kawaii かわいい (Cute and Lovable) - Lovable, cute or adorable, kawaii is found almost everywhere in modern Japan and an integral part of Japanese society.  

 Edited from Japan Talk on the “9 Principles of Japanese Art and Culture.” 

Yugen • 8" x 8" acrylic framed to 12" x 12" • $250 

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