A Proliferation of Monsters in Prints: Expressions of Anxiety in the Changing Worlds of Early Industrial Britain and Japan

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A Proliferation of Monsters in Prints: Expressions of Anxiety in the Changing Worlds of Early Industrial Britain and Japan

Type: Master thesis
Title: A Proliferation of Monsters in Prints: Expressions of Anxiety in the Changing Worlds of Early Industrial Britain and Japan
Author: Wheeler, Steve
Issue Date: 2017-08-31
Keywords: william blake
utagawa kuniyoshi
sea monster
leviathan
dragon
tenpo era
yokai
romantic period
ukiyo-e
Abstract: The human fascination with fear of the unknown has been documented in art and literature across civilisations for centuries. In every culture, this has manifested itself in the forms of creatures as bizarre as they are terrifying. These physical forms can be inspired by the world around us or reflect aspects of our own humanity. Perhaps the most awe-inspiring of all of these are those forms associated with the ocean. This paper explores the theory that art featuring sea monsters and other supernatural creatures is a phenomenon which appears in a society undergoing significant upheaval, change or trauma. Comparing the respective contexts of British and Japanese sea monster art, it will show how similar circumstances produced art that, while very different in visual aesthetic, has a remarkable amount of features in common in terms of subject matter and context. Furthermore, it will examine the ways in which these monsters are depicted in visual art can tell us about how British and Japanese societies approached and dealt with the fear and anxiety surrounding issues such as loss of traditional social structures, political and economic instability and the rapid and unpredictable change this brought about.
Supervisor: Smits, Ivo
Faculty: Faculty of Humanities
Department: Asian Studies (60 EC) (Master)
Specialisation: Asian Studies: History Arts and Culture
ECTS Credits: 15
Handle: http://hdl.handle.net/1887/52358
 

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