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Influence of Cultural Identity on Asian Art

Does Cultural Identity Influence the Creation of Art? In the second region of this series, we explore mysterious Asia.

10 Ways Cultural Identity Has Influenced Asian Art

Modern art comes with specific constraints and expectations, revolving around the concept or thought process behind it. One frequently surfacing query is the concept development associated with the artwork itself, and the identity that drove it into existence. Similarly, as art from various parts of the world is considered, one can’t help but appreciate the cultural identity behind it. Asian art has been widely praised due to its concrete traditional and controversial aspect and as a show-piece of an alien world.

Asian art history is diverse and rich in cultural heritage embedded with thousands of years of passed down traditions and including dozens of countries. One of the reasons why is Asian art important is because of the ritual bronze that has a deeper meaning and centuries-old teaching behind it. The cultural identity that influenced the creation of Asian art enriched it with beautiful ceramic, textiles, garden designs, poetically painted landscape, rich needlework along with a lot more. Asian art history is rich with temples, shrines, stupas, shadow puppets and more. It is safe to say that famous Asian art gains its popularity primarily because of its mesmerizing characteristics

"The world is a sphere. There is no East or West."

Ai Weiwei, (Weiwei-Isms)

Cultural Identity expressed via Characteristics of Asian Art

Some prominent characteristics of Asian art include its embodiment of years of enriched cultural orientation and the economic effects of colonialism in Asia. It also includes some traditional insight like the famous woodblock prints, pagodas, Batik and more. Apart from this, religion has also majorly influenced artworks of Asia over the years, and are a crucial feature of famous Asian art.

1. Cultural Identity Expressed through Spiritual Art

One reason why is Asian art important is because it has many religious imageries mentioned within it. Famous Asian art showcases sculptures of gods, popular within Buddhism. In 2013 I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to visit The Reclining Buddha of Wat Pho, Bangkok, Thailand, and make an offering of Gold Leaf to one of the statues there. While the economic effects of colonialism in Asia influenced their approach to art greatly, the present narratives of artworks still have traces of the century’s old characteristics of art. The spirituality of art is evident in Indian art, and Chinese art compared to the rest of the countries. 

Here in Dublin we are very lucky to have the remarkable Chester Beatty Library, in the grounds of Dublin Castle. The Chester Beatty contains a world famous collection of manuscripts, prints, miniature paintings, early printed books and ‘objets d’art’ from countries across Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and Europe. Sir Alfred Chester Beatty bequest this remarkable collection to the people of Ireland.

Another museum worth a mention is the Seattle Asian Art Museum. I have been lucky to visit the fine collection housed here. Coincidentally, this fine museum is next to Lake View Cemetery, where the final resting places of Bruce and Brandon Lee’s are.

2. Cultural Identity Expressed through Batik

Another popular characteristic of Asian art is Batik, which creates patterns on fabric by dyeing. Asian art history has created many interactive designs throughout the years, and Batik mainly brings a new artistic approach. Since it revolves hot was to dye a piece of fabric, it is a truly unique style that is widely observed in Indonesia and Malaysia. As of present, the style is mimicked in other areas as well and has an important cultural identity associated with it.

3. Cultural Identity Expressed through Delicate Imagery

One famous Asian art method is delicate imagery, which includes the classic Chinese silk painting technique to tell a story. This type of art is done on scrolls and requires the use of watercolours, and is an Asian art history technique that is nearly 2000 years old. You might have observed this technique in a display of bright, vibrant flowers and birds.  

4. Cultural Identity Expressed through Woodblock Prints 

Moving towards the Chinese and Japanese art style, woodblock prints usually include landscape artwork of urban areas. Previously, the famous Asian art using woodblock prints were of a religious nature, focusing mainly on belief. However, one of the economic effects of colonialism in Asia caused this particular style of art to be changed its approach to become more commercially viable. 

5. Abidance to Famous Asian Art Styles and Techniques

While the history of Asian art has deeper roots than the modern artworks we see today, some famous styles and techniques are prevailing. Much like painting, a common way of creating art. Many historical paintings and cultural identity inspired paintings to show the symbolism of old Asia, and religiously represent the universe. As you can imagine, traces of cultures are showcased in much of the Asian painting, following their creative style.

“The thing about art for me is that you can go on theorising your work forever, because it's open to interpretation.”

Beat Takeshi Kitano

6. Creation of Asian Art through Stone Carvings & Sculptures

One impressive hallmark that will forever grasp art lovers’ attention is the beautiful display of the ancient world through stone carvings and sculptures. Asian art history has a very old recollection of labourers carving stones for long hours. Numerous temples and shrines have stone carvings within them that tell the tale of times long gone. Moreover, famous Asian art also displays the remarkable bronze and gold statues of famous figurines, much like The Emerald Buddha in Thailand.

I am particularly amazed by the craftmanship in Chinese puzzle balls, so long as new ones abstain from the use of ivory.

7. Asian Art Represented through Architecture

Be it touring through Asia, or viewing their masterpiece online, Asian architecture is one of the most recognizable art that there is. It is widely recognized throughout, including people who are far from that cultural identity or style of living. Across the region beautiful architecture can be seen such as the Pagodas and Temples of Japan, The Great Wall of China and The Taj Mahal, India. All having the most diverse set of features observed in the world, particularly before the influence of any western architecture. The cultural importance is demonstrated sophisticatedly through their architecture. 

8. Cultural Identity Expressed via Calligraphy

A relatively different form of expression of art is done via calligraphy. History of Asian art has a strong connection with calligraphy, especially in China, the birthplace of the practice. As a shared art practice, Calligraphy is one of the reasons why is Asian art important, and frankly, contributed significantly to its popularity. 

Chinese culture places an emphasis on time and motion through its approach to types of painting and calligraphy. In addition many Asian ceramicists use unique stamps to seal their work. Over the centuries the fine porcelain factory stamp would depict the dynasty the ware was manufactured under.

9. Cultural Identity Represented by The Visual Arts

For Asian art, visual arts stretch beyond the bounds of what has been previously discussed. In recent practices, the cultural identity is followed in printmaking, crafts, film making along with other recent forms of visual arts. It also includes applied arts revolving around fashion designing, decorative art, industrial designs and more.

10. Asian Culture Showcased with Performance Art

Famous Asian art broadly includes live art and vocal and instrumental music, dance and theatre as the primary form of expression. It requires showcasing art in an unfolding state and reflect traditional values, cultural identity alongside human creativity. Performance art is widely practiced in different countries in Asia and is widely popular because of its unique capability to tell a story. As a traditional practice, most events are hosted to showcase the Asian heritage and embrace its glory

"Creativity is the power to reject the past, to change the status quo, and to seek new potential. Simply put, aside from using one’s imagination – perhaps more importantly – creativity is the power of act."

Ai Weiwei

Importance of Asian Art and Artists

The importance of Asian art is too significant to be overlooked in the art world. Every artist showcases their own unique form of expression which links to their cultural identity and way of doing things. Some famous artists in Asia are well-renowned for their expertise in different niches. Such as Persian calligraphy and International Urban Art Figure with A1one and DALeast respectively, their approach to art is unique to say the very least.

The beauty of artistic expression is that it is different for different people, and varies from culture to culture making it all the more important. Another famous Asian artist is Haegue Yang, a South Korean artist for her gender defying approach to art. For contemporary art, Zeng Fanzhi is one of the most feted Chinese artists because of his visually and historically complex paintings.

On the south of Asia, Haider Ali, a Pakistani artist is widely praised for his truck art, painted murals, structures, and benches – a unique form of Asian art. (He even painted a truck for an 2011 exhibition held my hometown of Luton, which has a large Pakistani community).

Creating Art for the Mind and Soul

The list of famous Asian artist and their contribution is a long one, playing their role in the overall beauty of art via their cultural appeal. Finding the good in art is one thing all famous artists, and we have in common, Searching for Completeness in it enables us to experience the full extent of its beauty. 

A stunning and unique wall hanging, Searching for Completeness uses Acrylic Fluid Painting and explores both a number surface pattern designs, and a variety of eclectic artistic techniques. The perfect addition for your room to experience the unique, historically rich, and mindfulness with art.

If you have enjoyed reading about the Influence of Cultural Identity on Asian Art, I invite you discover the cornerstone article to this series: The Influence of Cultural Identity on the Creation of Art.

Searching for Completeness

A stunning and unique wall hanging.

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