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Long Strange JourneyOn Modern Zen, Zen Art, and Other Predicaments$
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Gregory P. A. Levine

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780824858056

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824858056.001.0001

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Zen Art before Nothingness

Zen Art before Nothingness

(p.25) 1 Zen Art before Nothingness
Long Strange Journey

Gregory P. A. Levine

University of Hawai'i Press

Chapter One describes the uncertain beginnings of Zen and Zen art within modern intercultural encounters between Japan and Europe and North America. The representations and perceptions of Zen in the West arising from initial contacts in the sixteenth century and thereafter from the late nineteenth to the early twentieth were not uniform with what we discover from the 1920s and 1930s onward, and certainly not identical to those of the postwar Zen boom. As a genealogical sketch, this history of Zen art before “Zen art,” suggests a sensibility of ambivalence or nascent interest during the mid-to-late nineteenth century leading to one of infatuation in the early twentieth, at which time there emerged a range of geo-political conditions and a group of active Zen campaigners promoting the formation of a specifically differentiated and instrumentalized Zen and Zen art.

Keywords:   Ernest F. Fenollosa, Francis Xavier, L’Histoire de l’art du Japon, Minchō, nothingness, Okakura Kakuzō, World’s Columbian Exposition

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