The cult of beauty.
Sakurajima volcano on the southern island of Kyushu embodies the combination of rage and affection, the unbridled destructive forces of nature and the perseverance of a human creator. Petrified lava flows have been transformed into stepped terraces of orchards. It seems as if the tangerine trees are covered with white flowers. But these flowers are paper. With such a small bag, a diligent gardener carefully covers each ovary.
Let the nature of Japan sometimes cruel to people. Let her be stingy. But it is enough to visit these islands to understand why their inhabitants deify their native nature.
The concept of picturesqueness is expressed by the peoples of the Far East in the words “mountains and waters”. In Japan, such elements of beauty are truly ubiquitous. It is a country of wooded mountains and sea bays.
On a relatively small territory, the nature of the most diverse climatic zones is represented. Bamboo, bent under the weight of snow, is a symbol of the fact that north and south are adjacent here. The Japanese islands lie in the zone of monsoon winds. In late spring and early summer, the masses of humid air from the Pacific Ocean bring heavy rains, so necessary for rice seedlings. In winter, cold winds from Siberia collect moisture over the Sea of Japan and bring the largest amount of snow in the world for these latitudes to the northwest coast of the Land of the Rising Sun.
The combination of monsoon winds, warm sea currents and subtropical latitudes has made Japan a country of a peculiar climate, where spring, summer, autumn and winter are outlined extremely clearly and follow each other very punctually.
Japanese people find joy in not only following this change, but also in subordinating the rhythm of their lives to it. They are characterized not so much by the determination to conquer nature, but by the desire to live in harmony with it.
This same trait permeates their art. The goal of the Japanese gardener is to recreate nature in miniature. The craftsman seeks to reveal the texture of the material. Cook – to preserve the original taste of the product.
A universal seasoning for Japanese chefs is aji-no-moto. The word literally means “the root of taste”. The purpose of aji-no-moto is to enhance the taste characteristics inherent in the products.
We can say that aji-no-moto symbolizes Japanese art in general. His goal is to bring the material to a state in which it would most fully reveal its original charm.
The inherent Japanese love of nature was embodied in the peculiar features of the national life. A Japanese house is like a canopy over a void. Each room has a wall that can be moved apart, or even removed altogether.
When such sashes serve as exterior walls, they are pasted over with white rice paper and are called “shoji”. And those that share an interior space, and also serve as sliding doors, are called “fusuma”.
When you first see the inside of a Japanese home, the most striking thing is the almost complete lack of furniture. The eye sees only the bare wood of the support posts and rafters, the ceiling of planed planks, the latticed covers of the shoji, the rice paper of which softly diffuses the light from outside. Tatami mats – hard mats made of quilted straw mats-spring slightly under the open leg. The floor, made up of these golden rectangles, is completely empty.
Of course, the design features of the Japanese house are generated by the constant threat of earthquakes. Although the wooden frame shakes with tremors, it is much more stable than the brick walls. And if the roof still collapsed, the frame is easy to reassemble.
The sliding walls of the Japanese home undoubtedly embody the desire of its inhabitants to be closer to nature, instead of shutting themselves off from it.
The desire for harmony with nature, the cult of its beauty – the main features of the Japanese way of life. Experts recognize that this character trait is actively cultivated by the local school since childhood. On a fine day, classes are often canceled so that the children go outside to draw from nature or listen to the teacher explain how to recognize the beautiful.
An important place in the aesthetic education of the child is occupied by the teaching of writing. There is no doubt that hieroglyphics are a heavy burden for a Japanese schoolboy. It takes him three or four times more time and effort than mastering his native language in other countries.
But it is impossible not to note something else. When studying hieroglyphics, the line between penmanship and drawing is blurred. Perfect mastery of the brush and an impeccable sense of proportion, necessary for hieroglyphic writing, make a literate Japanese also a skilled painter.
In the everyday life of the Japanese, the customs of collective admiring the most poetic phenomena of nature are firmly rooted. In winter, it is customary to enjoy the freshly fallen snow, in spring – cherry blossoms, in autumn-the purple foliage of maples and the full moon.
We are not talking about a select class. Automobile factories, electrical engineering concerns, and fishing companies hire entire excursion convoys for this purpose. Thanks to additional tourist routes, such trips are quite accessible for any team and in many ways brighten up the daily life of ordinary workers.
The Japanese find and appreciate beauty in what surrounds a person in his everyday life, in every object of everyday life. Not just a painting or a vase, but any piece of household utensils, even a spatula for laying rice, can be the epitome of beauty.
The tea ceremony also teaches you to find the beautiful in the ordinary. If the passions raging in the human soul give rise to certain gestures, then there are also such gestures that can affect the soul, calm it. With strictly defined movements, their regularity, the tea ceremony calms the soul, brings it into a state in which it responds especially sensitively to the omnipresent beauty of nature.
In the Japanese dwelling there is a niche where there is a vase with ikebana-a composition of flowers. Ikebana is an independent form of visual art. The closest thing to it is probably sculpting. The sculptor sculpts from marble, clay. In this case, in his hands – flowers and branches.
The purpose of ikebana is to express the beauty of nature by creating compositions of flowers and ceramics. The art of ikebana is loved in Japan for its accessibility, for the fact that it helps a person of any wealth to feel spiritually rich.
Japan is now, as it were, a twofold example for humanity. On the one hand, with their way of life, the Japanese refute the speculation that modern civilization impoverishes the spiritual life of a person, obscures the world of beauty from him. On the other hand, the appearance of the Japanese islands is more alarming than other parts of the Earth, which warns us in our age against the disastrous consequences of unreasonable use of natural resources.
It cannot be said that Japan is picturesque only where its nature has remained untouched. Aren’t the terraced terraces of the rice fields created by many generations exciting the soul? Or tea plantations, where the merged crowns of neatly trimmed bushes descend the slopes like giant snakes?
Well-grooming, the attitude to the field as to a bed or a flower bed – a characteristic feature of Japan, one of the elements of its picturesqueness. Don’t the concrete strips of expressways or cable-stayed bridges spanning the Inland Sea adorn the landscape?
The land of the rising sun shows that human labor can multiply the beauty of nature in proportion to the reasonableness of its application.