Erica Vaz

Shining a light on how humankind interacts among its different cultures in a time of rising individuality and nationalism is of the utmost importance and is a very motivating subject for me. Researching and analysing the impact different cultures have had on each other in ancient times has inspired me to develop a better understanding of the links that connect us all.

One of the most important links between cultures is the now called Silk Road, an ancient group of land and maritime routes, expanding from Eastern Europe in the West, to China, Japan and Korea in the far East. Kings and Emperors, along with merchants, collected and commissioned works of art and items from faraway lands or locally, all highly influenced by the other cultures along the Silk Road. Many of these have been preserved for future generations allowing us to gain an understanding of their origins and consequent integration into the different cultures.

My main area of interest, including past research projects, has been Japanese art and religions focusing on the period from the 700s to 1500s. This encompasses a time of high volume trade along the Silk Road, up to the closing of Japan to the outside world. My love of Japanese art goes hand-in-hand with my strong pursuit, background and future projects in ceramics and architecture.

For these reasons, the MA Part Two project is concentrated on two main aspects: a research-based understanding of patterns and their elements in Japanese history, tracing their origins and ramifications to the regions and empires touched by the Silk Road, and their consequent development to form the rich visual imagery that is identified as the Japanese aesthetic. Also I look at the long history of tile making and ceramic arts associated with the same cultures, their historical contexts, traditional techniques and applications.

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