Netsuke are miniature sculptures that were invented in 17th-century Japan to serve a practical function. In English the word may be italicized or not, with American English tending to favour the former and British English the latter. Traditional Japanese garments—robes called kosode and kimono—had no pockets, their solution was to place such objects in containers hung by cords from the robes' sashes. The containers may have been pouches or small woven baskets, but the most popular were beautifully crafted boxes, which were held shut by ojime, which were sliding beads on cords. Whatever the form of the container, the fastener that secured the cord at the top of the sash was a carved, button-like toggle called a netsuke. Netsuke, like the inrō and ojime, evolved over time from being utilitarian into objects of great artistic merit and an expression of extraordinary craftsmanship; such objects have a long history reflecting the important aspects of Japanese life. Netsuke production was most popular during the Edo period in Japan, around 1615–1868.
Today, the art lives on, some modern works can command high prices in the UK, the USA, Japan and elsewhere. Inexpensive yet faithful reproductions are available in museums and souvenir shops. Okimono and purely decorative sculptures, were made by the same artists who produced netsuke. Katabori-netsuke or "sculpture netsuke" - This is the most common type of netsuke, they are compact three-dimensional figures carved in a round shape and are around one to three inches high. Anabori-netsuke or "hollowed netsuke" - subset of katabori which are carved out for a hollow center. Clams are most the motifs for this type of netsuke. Sashi-netsuke - This is an elongated form of katabori "stab" netsuke, similar in length to the sticks and gourds used as improvised netsuke before carved pieces were produced, they are about six inches long. Obi-hasami - another elongated netsuke with a curved top and bottom, it sits behind the obi with the curved ends visible above and below the obi. men-netsuke or "mask netsuke" - the largest category after katabori.
These were imitations of full-size noh masks and share characteristics in common with both katabori and manju/kagamibuta. Manjū-netsuke - a thick, round netsuke, with carving done in relief, sometimes made of two ivory halves. Shaped like a manjū, a Japanese confection. Ryūsa-netsuke (柳左根付）- shaped like a manjū, but carved like lace, so that light is transmitted through the item. Kagamibuta-netsuke or "mirror-lid netsuke" - shaped like a manjū, but with a metal disc serving as a lid to a shallow bowl of ivory; the metal is highly decorated with a wide variety of metallurgical techniques. Karakuri-netsuke or "trick/mechanism netsuke" - any netsuke that has moving parts or hidden surprises. Ivory - the most common material used before ivory from live animals became illegal. Netsuke made from mammoth ivory fill part of the tourist trade demand today. Boxwood, other hardwoods - popular materials in Edo Japan and still used today metal - used as accents in many netsuke and kagamibuta lids hippopotamus tooth - used today in lieu of ivory boar tusk - used by the Iwami carvers rhinoceros horn clay/porcelain lacquer cane hornbill ivory: of the many species of hornbill, only the helmeted hornbill furnishes an ivory-like substance.
This is a carvable substance that makes up the solid casque growing above the upper mandible. It is not ivory, horn, or bone, it is a creamy yellow in color, becoming red at the top and sides. Umimatsu: a species of black coral with dense texture, concentric growth rings, amber and reddish colored inclusions in the black material. According to Michael Birch, "the literal translation of umimatsu is'sea pine', it is popularly described as'black coral'. True coral, however, is a hard calcareous substance secreted by marine polyps for habitation. Umimatsu, on the other hand is a colony of keratinous antipatharian marine organisms."According to Bushell, "The literal translation... is seapine.... Whether literal or figurative the translation is a misnomer, as the material is, in actuality, a coral formed by skeletons of living organisms.... In color, black coral, is black or blackish brown, sometimes showing streaks of light brown or dirty yellow." Bushell goes on: "As material, umimatsu is more acceptable to collectors than carvers.
Leading carvers avoided the material. It was prone to crumble or chip. Carvers find that it is risky for carving subtle effects. Perfect pieces of black coral were difficult to obtain."umoregi: there are several definitions, some contradictory: According to Bushell, "Umoregi is a fossilized wood, having the general appearance of ebony but showing no grain." Called fossilized wood, umoregi is not properly a wood, but a "jet", confused with ebony. It is a shiny material that takes an excellent polish. Umoregi is petrified wood formed when cedar and pine trees from the Tertiary Age were buried underground and carbonized; the layers of earth where umoregi-zaiku can be found extend under the Aobayama and Yagiyama sections of Sendai, Japan. Pieces made from this material are dark br
Cloisonné is an ancient technique for decorating metalwork objects. In recent centuries, vitreous enamel has been used, inlays of cut gemstones and other materials were used during older periods; the resulting objects can be called cloisonné. The decoration is formed by first adding compartments to the metal object by soldering or affixing silver or gold wires or thin strips placed on their edges; these remain visible in the finished piece, separating the different compartments of the enamel or inlays, which are of several colors. Cloisonné enamel objects are worked on with enamel powder made into a paste, which needs to be fired in a kiln. In antiquity, the cloisonné technique was used for jewellery and small fittings for clothes, weapons or similar small objects decorated with geometric or schematic designs, with thick cloison walls. In the Byzantine Empire techniques using thinner wires were developed to allow more pictorial images to be produced used for religious images and jewellery, by always using enamel.
By the 14th century this enamel technique had spread to China, where it was soon used for much larger vessels such as bowls and vases. Cloisonné first developed in the jewellery of the ancient Near East in small pieces such as rings, with thin wire forming the cloisons. In the jewellery of ancient Egypt, including the pectoral jewels of the Pharaohs, thicker strips form the cloisons, which remain small. In Egypt gemstones and enamel-like materials sometimes called; the Byzantines perfected a unique form of cloisonné icons. Byzantine enamel spread to surrounding cultures and a particular type known as garnet cloisonné is found in the Migration Period art of the "barbarian" peoples of Europe, who used gemstones red garnets, as well as glass and enamel, with small thick-walled cloisons. Red garnets and gold made an attractive contrast of colours, for Christians the garnet was a symbol of Christ; this type is now thought to have originated in the Late Antique Eastern Roman Empire and to have reached the Migration peoples as diplomatic gifts of objects made in Constantinople copied by their own goldsmiths.
Glass-paste cloisonné was made in the same periods with similar results – compare the gold Anglo-Saxon fitting with garnets and the Visigothic brooch with glass-paste in the gallery. Thick ribbons of gold were soldered to the base of the sunken area to be decorated to make the compartments, before adding the stones or paste. Sometimes compartments filled with the different materials of cut stones or glass and enamel are mixed to ornament the same object, as in the Sutton Hoo purse-lid. In the Byzantine world the technique was developed into the thin-wire style suitable only for enamel described below, imitated in Europe from about Carolingian period onwards; the earliest surviving cloisonné pieces are rings in graves from 12th century BC Cyprus, using thin wire. Subsequently, enamel was just one of the fillings used for the small, thick-walled cloisons of the Late Antique and Migration Period style described above. From about the 8th century, Byzantine art began again to use much thinner wire more to allow much more complex designs to be used, with larger and less geometric compartments, only possible using enamel.
These were still on small objects, although numbers of plaques could be set into larger objects, such as the Pala d'Oro, the altarpiece in Saint Mark's Cathedral, Venice. Some objects combined thin cloisons for varied effect; the designs contained a generous background of plain gold, as in contemporary Byzantine mosaics. The area to be enamelled was stamped to create the main depression, pricked to help the enamel adhere, the cloisons added. Two different techniques in Byzantine and European cloisonné enamel are distinguished, for which the German names are still used in English; the earliest is the Vollschmelz technique where the whole of a gold base plate is to be covered in enamel. The edges of the plate are turned up to form a reservoir, gold wires are soldered in place to form the cloisons; the enamel design therefore covers the whole plate. In the Senkschmelz technique the parts of the base plate to hold the design are hammered down, leaving a surrounding gold background, as seen in contemporary Byzantine icons and mosaics with gold glass backgrounds, the saint illustrated here.
The wires and enamels are added as before. The outline of the design will be apparent on the reverse of the base plate; the transition between the two techniques occurs around 900 in Byzantine enamel, 1000 in the West, though with important earlier examples. The plaques with apostles of around the latter date on the Holy Crown of Hungary show a unique transitional phase, where the base plaque has hammered recesses for the design, as in senkschmelz work, but the enamel covers the whole plaque except for thick outlines around the figures and inscriptions, as in the vollschmelz technique; some 10th-century pieces achieve a senkschmelz effect by using two plates superimposed on each other, the upper one with the design outline cut out and the lower one left plain. From Byzantium or the Islamic world the technique reached China in the 13–14th centuries. No Chinese pie
Buddhism is the world's fourth-largest religion with over 520 million followers, or over 7% of the global population, known as Buddhists. Buddhism encompasses a variety of traditions and spiritual practices based on original teachings attributed to the Buddha and resulting interpreted philosophies. Buddhism originated in ancient India as a Sramana tradition sometime between the 6th and 4th centuries BCE, spreading through much of Asia. Two major extant branches of Buddhism are recognized by scholars: Theravada and Mahayana. Most Buddhist traditions share the goal of overcoming suffering and the cycle of death and rebirth, either by the attainment of Nirvana or through the path of Buddhahood. Buddhist schools vary in their interpretation of the path to liberation, the relative importance and canonicity assigned to the various Buddhist texts, their specific teachings and practices. Observed practices include taking refuge in the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha, observance of moral precepts, monasticism and the cultivation of the Paramitas.
Theravada Buddhism has a widespread following in Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia such as Myanmar and Thailand. Mahayana, which includes the traditions of Pure Land, Nichiren Buddhism and Tiantai, is found throughout East Asia. Vajrayana, a body of teachings attributed to Indian adepts, may be viewed as a separate branch or as an aspect of Mahayana Buddhism. Tibetan Buddhism, which preserves the Vajrayana teachings of eighth-century India, is practiced in the countries of the Himalayan region and Kalmykia. Buddhism is an Indian religion attributed to the teachings of the Buddha born Siddhārtha Gautama, known as the Tathāgata and Sakyamuni. Early texts have his personal name as "Gautama" or "Gotama" without any mention of "Siddhārtha," which appears to have been a kind of honorific title when it does appear; the details of Buddha's life are mentioned in many Early Buddhist Texts but are inconsistent, his social background and life details are difficult to prove, the precise dates uncertain. The evidence of the early texts suggests that he was born as Siddhārtha Gautama in Lumbini and grew up in Kapilavasthu, a town in the plains region of the modern Nepal-India border, that he spent his life in what is now modern Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.
Some hagiographic legends state that his father was a king named Suddhodana, his mother was Queen Maya, he was born in Lumbini gardens. However, scholars such as Richard Gombrich consider this a dubious claim because a combination of evidence suggests he was born in the Shakyas community – one that gave him the title Shakyamuni, the Shakya community was governed by a small oligarchy or republic-like council where there were no ranks but where seniority mattered instead; some of the stories about Buddha, his life, his teachings, claims about the society he grew up in may have been invented and interpolated at a time into the Buddhist texts. According to the Buddhist sutras, Gautama was moved by the innate suffering of humanity and its endless repetition due to rebirth, he set out on a quest to end this repeated suffering. Early Buddhist canonical texts and early biographies of Gautama state that Gautama first studied under Vedic teachers, namely Alara Kalama and Uddaka Ramaputta, learning meditation and ancient philosophies the concept of "nothingness, emptiness" from the former, "what is neither seen nor unseen" from the latter.
Finding these teachings to be insufficient to attain his goal, he turned to the practice of asceticism. This too fell short of attaining his goal, he turned to the practice of dhyana, which he had discovered in his youth, he famously sat in meditation under a Ficus religiosa tree now called the Bodhi Tree in the town of Bodh Gaya in the Gangetic plains region of South Asia. He gained insight into the workings of karma and his former lives, attained enlightenment, certainty about the Middle Way as the right path of spiritual practice to end suffering from rebirths in Saṃsāra; as a enlightened Buddha, he attracted followers and founded a Sangha. Now, as the Buddha, he spent the rest of his life teaching the Dharma he had discovered, died at the age of 80 in Kushinagar, India. Buddha's teachings were propagated by his followers, which in the last centuries of the 1st millennium BCE became over 18 Buddhist sub-schools of thought, each with its own basket of texts containing different interpretations and authentic teachings of the Buddha.
The Four Truths express the basic orientation of Buddhism: we crave and cling to impermanent states and things, dukkha, "incapable of satisfying" and painful. This keeps us caught in saṃsāra, the endless cycle of repeated rebirth and dying again, but there is a way to liberation from this endless cycle to the state of nirvana, namely following the Noble Eightfold Path. The truth of dukkha is the basic insight that life in this mundane world, with its clinging and craving to impermanent states and things is dukkha, unsatisfactory. Dukkha can be translated as "incapable of satisfying," "the unsatisfactory nature and the general insecurity of all conditioned phenomena". Dukkha is most translated as "suffering," but this is inaccurate, since it refers not to episodic suffering, but to the intrinsically unsat
An inrō is a traditional Japanese case for holding small objects, suspended from the obi worn around the waist. They are highly decorated, in a variety of materials and techniques, in particular using lacquer; because traditional Japanese robes lacked pockets, objects were carried by hanging them from the obi in containers known as sagemono. Most sagemono were created for specialized contents, such as tobacco, writing brush and ink, but the type known as inrō was suitable for carrying anything small; the term inrō derives from the Sino-Japanese roots in and rō. Consisting of a stack of tiny, nested boxes, inrō were most used to carry identity seals and medicine; the stack of boxes is held together by a cord, laced through cord runners down one side, under the bottom, up the opposite side. The ends of the cord are secured to a netsuke, a kind of toggle, passed between the sash and pants and hooked over the top of the sash to suspend the inrō. An ojime, or bead, is provided on the cords between the netsuke to hold the boxes together.
This bead is slid down the two suspension cords to the top of the inrō to hold the stack together while the inrō is worn, slid up to the netsuke when the boxes need to be unstacked to access their contents. Inrō were made of a variety of materials, including wood, ivory and lacquer. Lacquer was used to decorate inrō made of other materials. Inrō, like the ojime and netsuke they were associated with, evolved over time from utilitarian articles into objects of high art and immense craftsmanship. Sporran Bushell, Raymond "The Inrō Handbook", Weatherhill, 2002. ISBN 0-8348-0135-3 "Legend in Japanese Art" by Henri L. Joly.
Los Angeles the City of Los Angeles and known by its initials L. A. is the most populous city in California, the second most populous city in the United States, after New York City, the third most populous city in North America. With an estimated population of four million, Los Angeles is the cultural and commercial center of Southern California; the city is known for its Mediterranean climate, ethnic diversity and the entertainment industry, its sprawling metropolis. Los Angeles is the largest city on the West Coast of North America. Los Angeles is in a large basin bounded by the Pacific Ocean on one side and by mountains as high as 10,000 feet on the other; the city proper, which covers about 469 square miles, is the seat of Los Angeles County, the most populated county in the country. Los Angeles is the principal city of the Los Angeles metropolitan area, the second largest in the United States after that of New York City, with a population of 13.1 million. It is part of the Los Angeles-Long Beach combined statistical area the nation's second most populous area with a 2015 estimated population of 18.7 million.
Los Angeles is one of the most substantial economic engines within the United States, with a diverse economy in a broad range of professional and cultural fields. Los Angeles is famous as the home of Hollywood, a major center of the world entertainment industry. A global city, it has been ranked 6th in the Global Cities Index and 9th in the Global Economic Power Index; the Los Angeles metropolitan area has a gross metropolitan product of $1.044 trillion, making it the third-largest in the world, after the Tokyo and New York metropolitan areas. Los Angeles hosted the 1932 and 1984 Summer Olympics and will host the event for a third time in 2028; the city hosted the Miss Universe pageant twice, in 1990 and 2006, was one of 9 American cities to host the 1994 FIFA men's soccer World Cup and one of 8 to host the 1999 FIFA women's soccer World Cup, hosting the final match for both tournaments. Home to the Chumash and Tongva, Los Angeles was claimed by Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo for Spain in 1542 along with the rest of what would become Alta California.
The city was founded on September 4, 1781, by Spanish governor Felipe de Neve. It became a part of Mexico in 1821 following the Mexican War of Independence. In 1848, at the end of the Mexican–American War, Los Angeles and the rest of California were purchased as part of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, becoming part of the United States. Los Angeles was incorporated as a municipality on April 4, 1850, five months before California achieved statehood; the discovery of oil in the 1890s brought rapid growth to the city. The completion of the Los Angeles Aqueduct in 1913, delivering water from Eastern California assured the city's continued rapid growth; the Los Angeles coastal area was settled by the Chumash tribes. A Gabrieleño settlement in the area was called iyáangẚ, meaning "poison oak place". Maritime explorer Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo claimed the area of southern California for the Spanish Empire in 1542 while on an official military exploring expedition moving north along the Pacific coast from earlier colonizing bases of New Spain in Central and South America.
Gaspar de Portolà and Franciscan missionary Juan Crespí, reached the present site of Los Angeles on August 2, 1769. In 1771, Franciscan friar Junípero Serra directed the building of the Mission San Gabriel Arcángel, the first mission in the area. On September 4, 1781, a group of forty-four settlers known as "Los Pobladores" founded the pueblo they called El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles,'The Town of Our Lady the Queen of the Angels'; the present-day city has the largest Roman Catholic Archdiocese in the United States. Two-thirds of the Mexican or settlers were mestizo or mulatto, a mixture of African and European ancestry; the settlement remained a small ranch town for decades, but by 1820, the population had increased to about 650 residents. Today, the pueblo is commemorated in the historic district of Los Angeles Pueblo Plaza and Olvera Street, the oldest part of Los Angeles. New Spain achieved its independence from the Spanish Empire in 1821, the pueblo continued as a part of Mexico.
During Mexican rule, Governor Pío Pico made Los Angeles Alta California's regional capital. Mexican rule ended during the Mexican–American War: Americans took control from the Californios after a series of battles, culminating with the signing of the Treaty of Cahuenga on January 13, 1847. Railroads arrived with the completion of the transcontinental Southern Pacific line to Los Angeles in 1876 and the Santa Fe Railroad in 1885. Petroleum was discovered in the city and surrounding area in 1892, by 1923, the discoveries had helped California become the country's largest oil producer, accounting for about one-quarter of the world's petroleum output. By 1900, the population had grown to more than 102,000; the completion of the Los Angeles Aqueduct in 1913, under the supervision of William Mulholland, assured the continued growth of the city. Due to clauses in the city's charter that prevented the City of Los Angeles from selling or providing water from the aqueduct to any area outside its borders, many adjacent city and communities became compelled to annex themselves into Los Angeles.
Los Angeles created the first municipal zoning ordinance in the United States. On September 14, 1908, the Los Angeles City Council promulgated residential and industrial land use zones; the new ordinance established three residential zones of a single type, where industrial uses were