okashi おかし
KEY WORD : art history / general terms
1 Charming, or delightful. An approach to the aesthetic indicating a carefree appreciation of objects and events, thus in contrast with the deeper emotionality of *aware あわれ. A prominent Heian ideal of courtly beauty, it does not ignore the intellect, but emphasises shape, colour, sound or scent in the comprehension of life and nature. The term appears in early Heian period prose tales such as OCHIKUBO MONOGATARI 落窪物語 (the end of 10c) and UTSUBO MONOGATARI 宇津保物語 (late 10c), but found its ultimate expression in Sei Shounagon's 清少納言 (mid-11c) MAKURA NO SOUSHI 枕草紙 (trans. Ivan Morris, The Pillow Book of Sei Shounagon). Okashi also appears as a critical judgement hanshi 半詞 on poetry contests utaawase 歌合 (see *utaawase-e 歌合絵), where it can mean either courtly refinement in theme or diction or cleverness.

2 Beginning in the Kamakura period Okashi came to indicate humour. The word also appears in writing on *nou 能 drama by Zeami 世阿弥 (1363-1445) and it was often used to describe the amusing or outright comic elements of kyougen 狂言. This humorous quality of okashi had significant ramifications for some Heian art, providing the aesthetic background for *oko-e 鳴呼絵 such as the handscrolls of Frolicking Animals and Humans Choujuu jinbutsu giga 鳥獣人物戯画 (12c; Kouzanji 高山寺, Kyoto). Moreover, the spirit of okashi can be felt in the entire history of *giga 戯画.


(C)2001 Japanese Architecture and Art Net Users System. No reproduction or republication without written permission.