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Time Traveling back into Time

Updated on July 4, 2012

On my journey back into time, I am going to be traveling to three of my most favorite time periods. I will go into detail and talk about my first hand account of the culture and the arts of these time periods, and tell you about my favorite artifacts. I hope that you enjoy my book, as much as I enjoyed traveling back into time and meeting the people of these decades. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride.

My first stop on my time traveling journey is the early Japanese civilization. I wanted to start of my journey going in depth with their religion. The Japanese believed in Buddhism and Shinto. From the many influences that Japan received from China and Korea, the most significant was the religion of Buddhism, and in which China itself had imported the religion from India. Japan accepted this new religion with great passion, and copied the sacred text, building temples, and ordaining monastics-the first of whom were three women. The Japanese were very fond of nature and its surrounding’s, and thus is what they believe in religiously, nature was a state of religion and a patriotic appreciation of the Japanese land. Many people in the present time, and who are not of Japanese background, have embraced the Buddhism Religion; because they have a great love for nature, and everything that the Japanese people believe in.

“In 1960, the field of archaeology was given shock when scientific carbon dating showed that the world’s first pottery was created in Japan. Recent tests have pushed back the dating to 10,000 B.C.E.; well before any other cultures developed their own ceramic tradition” (Benton & DiYanni, 2008). Art in the early Japanese civilization came din many forms and sizes, from the scrolls to the paintings, religion, and the pottery. My favorite time period that I traveled to in early Japan would have to be the Heian period, because of the Heian Hand Scrolls. The art of this period included both the religious art and the secular subjects, and they were all done with great sophistication. This era was the start of the Japanese to adapt a more distinctively indigenous style. I found that in this time period there were a lot of scrolls that depicted landscaped paintings. A great example for the landscaped paintings, “began to depart from Chinese depictions of majestic mountains, replacing them with representations of softer rolling hills, maple trees, and cherry blossoms” (Benton & DiYanni, 2008). The purpose of these landscaped paintings, where that they were utilized for use as backgrounds to narrative tales. These paintings often bring to mind a sense of transience of emotional sadness that is often found in the Japanese poetry.

My favorite piece of this time is the painting “The Tale of Genji”, in the late Heian period. This is a twelfth century hand scroll that was inked and colored on paper. The hand scroll section illustrate a scene in which Prince Genji holds a baby that he knows it is not his, while his wife looks down with great sadness on her face. Despite their lofty positions, they are unable to find happiness, and in the painting they are huddled into a corner. I could not find the individual responsible to this piece, but in present day this piece is being held at the, Tokugawa Art Museum, in Nagoya Japan. It seems as if all the art and poetry were based of off someone’s sadness, and that everyone in the early Japanese civilization were sad. The Tale of Genji piece still has a great meaning and value in the society in modern-day cultures, because there are some people experience their wife having a baby that is not theirs and that they could have all the money in the world and not be happy. Happiness is the key to life, and if you are un-happy, sometimes there is nothing to look forward to.

My second stop on my time traveling journey is the Renaissance in Italy. I chose Italy as one of my destinations, because in present day Italy it is a beautiful place to visit for a vacation because of the fine arts, the food, and the people. I wanted to go more into depth of how the Italians got started on their art’s and culture. I also want to meet the greatest artist of all times, and know what their reasons are behind their famous paintings.

As I leave my time machine and into the streets of Italy, it seemed as if the transition from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance was a very gradual Transition. “The intense religiosity of the Middle Ages persisted into the Renaissance, though it came to coexist with a more worldly philosophy and more secular outlook” (Benton & DiYanni, 2008). But other than religion during this time period, philosophy was up and rising. In this time period, Italy was known for and in addition to their interest were classical arts, literature, law, and ideals. In 1490, Florence, Italy; was ruled by its guilds, or what some may call arti. There were seven major guilds, in which they were controlled by bankers, lawyers, and exporters, who originally ran the civic centers.

As I make my way into the art’s of this culture, there was one that stood out to me; it was Donatello’s sculpture of Mary Magdalene. The sculpture was carved out of wood, and it stands a little over six feet high. “After a sermon by Pope Gregory the Great in 594, in which he made suggestive comparison to Mary Magdalene’s sinfulness, she came to be indentified as a prostitute. She remained among the followers of Jesus, is said to have anointed him with oil after his crucifixion, to have attended to his burial, and discovered his resurrection” (Benton & DiYanni, 2008). Donatello’s purpose of this piece was to show Jesus’ of Mary Magdalene’s repent of all her sins. Not only beauty, but also its absence can be used to create emotionally moving art, as in this portrayal of Mary Magdalene’s repentant sinner. This piece represents the religious background of this time period, and that religion was something that was just as much important as other things. The piece still has a great meaning and value to us in modern-day cultures, because the Catholic religion has bloomed since then. More and More people are converting to the Catholic Religion because of it being conservative. Also the art piece is related to other artwork in this time period because a lot of the arts were of religious backgrounds.

As my adventure continues, I want to take one last trip to time period that we are all familiar with, the Late Twentieth Century. I believe it would be a great addition to my book, to indulge people where everything began for us today, the art’s, the music, and what we call pop culture. Entering the Mid-Twentieth century and later was when world war two had started to die down a little. “More than seventeen million soldiers died fighting World War II, and eighteen million civilians died because of it” (Benton & DiYanni, 2008). The start and end of the war revolutionized our modern arts, and their wear emotional standpoints behind most paintings.

Andy Warhol, was a revolutionist when it came to his art, a lot of his everyday objects between the 50’s and the 60’s were iconic for the pop cultures fads. His art consisted of, advertising images, product labels like Campbell soups, highway billboards, and last but not least he celebrated entertainers such as Marilyn Monroe. During this time period Marilyn Monroe was a big icon, her beauty, her sophistication that was depicted in her movies. “Warhol’s images raise everyday objects and icons to artistic status; behind the lies an ironic resignation to widespread banality. The duplicate impressions of Marilyn Monroe in Warhol’s diptych suggest that her suicide was a desperate escape” (Benton & DiYanni, 2008). Her death was a shock to us all; it sent out a statement that beauty, fame, and money does not make a person happy. With all the paparazzi I can see why Ms. Monroe went into a deep depression, she just didn’t want to be in the spotlight anymore. Of course, Warhol’s Marilyn Monroe has a lot of meaning and value to our modern-day cultures because, it shows how you start off in the limelight, and then you will eventually drift and fade away. It was a truly sad end to her life, but her movies and music will live on forever.

Another one that I want to throw out there since I am here in the mid to Late Twentieth century is the mainstream movie industry. Although we all know that movies started out as silent movies, like the movies of Charlie Chaplin, but there was music to accompany the movies, to set in the emotions and feelings of what was going on. Among one of the most important filmmakers was David Ward Griffith (1875-1948). Griffith believed that editing was the key to early day cinematography. In 1915, he had produce his first full length film, The Birth of a Nation, this movie had offered a romanticized view of the antebellum South and the struggle of white southerners to survive the devastating effects of the Civil War. This might have been one of the first movies that was made to depict the afterlife of war. After spending some time in this time period, I have come to understand the cause and effects of war, and the image that it had put on its arts. As the years progressed the art become something fun to look at, whether it be funky buildings, to garbage put together to make a sculpture. Pop Culture is the reason behind twentieth century art, because the pop culture of art what was popular at that time.

As my time traveling journey comes to an end, I hope that you enjoyed my travel experiences as much as I have, and hopefully one day make time and do it all over gain. I have learned so much on my journey, and I hope that you can say the same for yourselves. I look forward to the new and up coming artist, and the art that they bring forward for the world to see. Without the freedom to express ourselves, art would not be as vibrant as they are today and in the earlier decades. If you are an aspiring artist, just believe in yourself and remember that art has its ways of coming alive, and the feelings that you put into them; everyone will have a sense of connection to it. All that I desire to point out is the general principle that life imitates art far more than art imitates life. – Oscar Wilde


Benton, J.R. & DiYanni, R. (2008). Arts and Culture: An Introduction to the Humanities (3rd Ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall


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