Japanese sculptures served as fertility figures, but sexual characteristics are usually absent. Japanese sculptures create a sense of life and movement. They are usually of someone in a meditative position. Buddhism is a strong factor throughout Japanese art. The portrayals of Buddha in different forms as well as Bodhisattvas are also a part of Japanese art. Demons and devils are shown in Buddhist images not only to warn against the dangers of evil conduct, but also to give a sense of their legitimate place in the fabric of natural and supernatural life, which is important to Japanese beliefs. Most of the art in the Metropolitan Museum of art showed the life of Buddha and had a great sense of spirituality. The influence of Zen brought about ink landscapes which Japanese artists are known for.
Chinese art relies on harmonious balance. During the Bronze Age Chinese artists were concerned with securing immortality and safe passage to the after life. Lavish tombs were erected which shows they believed in an afterlife. It is clear from inscriptions found on animal bones and bronze vessels that the rules were deeply concerned with ensuring their immortality. They practiced a complex system of ancestor worship that included offerings at temples. Buddhism also plays a major role in Chinese art. Art was based on sacred stories.
The art of India is concerned with the resolution of the central paradox of all existence. There is a conceptual view expressed in art, which divides the universe into three elements, the senses, the emotions and the spirit. Indian artists transform the feminine form into a perennial mystery of sex and creativity. The light, shade, composition and volume in Indian painting are used to glorify the mystery that resolves the conflict between life, death, time and eternity. Islam, one predominant religion in India forbids representation of the human figure in religious contexts, which lead to geometric patterns.
Sigmund Freud thought artists were introverts with excessive instinctual urges and were unable to come to terms with the demands of practical reality. Freud’s concept of art was as a compensation for lost time and happiness. He felt the artist creates a world of fantasy in which he can fulfill his unconscious wishes. The artist differs from the dreamer in that he is able to find a way back to reality in his creation. Freud says the artist achieves the conversion of his unrealistic demands into aims that are realizable by the power of sublimation. This is a kind of defense mechanism saves the artist from punishment or illness, but it also confines the artist to a fictitious world. Surrealism celebrates the realm of dreams and the unconscious mind. Surrealists appreciated Freud’s distinction between the ego and the id or our primal instincts (desires) and our rational patterns of behavior. Our primal instincts or urges are repressed into the unconscious part of our minds. Surrealists wanted to gain access to that unconscious part of our mind so they invented new art forms and techniques. Surrealist painters used realistic representations, but juxtapose objects and images in irrational ways. Surrealists were also interested in mythology, which according to Freud revealed psychological fixations and desires that are in everyone. Mythology has a great importance placed on non-Western cultures and it was believe that non-Western cultures were more in tune with nature and primal forces. We see this use of the visual language of classical mythology in Salvador Dali’s Leda Atomica. Dali’s works have connections between art and science and are reinforced by the link between physics and religion. Dali shifted his artwork to Christian iconography. In the Madonna of Port Lligat we see the Christ child floating in the chest of the Madonna which is reminiscent of the view through a building in one of Raphael’s works. Many surrealists however, stayed away from religion. Modern art was considered to cause