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“Hunting with Falcons” is a painting made by Korean artist Kim Hong-do. The painting is made with ink on silk and depicts falconry, a popular sport for upper class Koreans during the period . “A Birthday Painting” was made by Chinese artist Shen Quan as a birthday present and depicts deer in the wild and incorporates many Chinese symbols of prosperity. This paining is also ink on silk and may seem identical to the Korean made “Hunting with Falcons” however, distinct cultural aspects can be identified in the two art works.
“Hunting with Falcons” and Korean art in general, often makes use of naturalism allowing their art to truly reflect the world and their environment.
In “Hunting with Falcons” the sport being depicted was commonly practiced and a part of life. The piece is simple and very natural and doesn’t include many strongly defined elements. “A Birthday Painting” on the other hand, takes a more idealistic approach, depicting a nature scene utilizing bold images, with a focus on perfection in all aspects of the piece.
The art of these two nations are mirrors of their respective cultures, with Chinese culture being more discipline-based than Korean culture and putting more emphasis on perfection. As reflected by their art, Chinese culture is very controlled, which can constrain artists and their creativity, especially in the past.
This explains the great uniformity in Chinese art. This is not the case for Korean culture and explains why more diversity can be found in Korean art. However, when compared to the United States, the art of both China and Korea does not display the extent of variety that can be seen in American art.
Although American culture is white-dominated, there exists greater opportunity for expression, from all groups, in the United States. This is due to communities, like the UF community, being open to diversity.
A major constraint for artists in Asia, especially in the past, is that social roles greatly impede and discourage people of lower status from creating meaningful or unique art, as they are looked down upon. This is reflected in the homogeneity of art work in Asian cultures, where conformity is favored. Albeit, artists of lower status in the United States, namely minorities, have also faced a lot of adversity when trying to create art and getting recognized for it. In fact, I have learned of numerous minority artists that recognize their constraints and have not only become activists for equality, but also role models for other members of their community.
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