Index to Resources
Nature of the Beast is an educational and interactive exploration
of the way artists of Edo-period Japan depicted
animals and the natural world. It
draws on the extensive collections of the Pacific Asia Museum
. This page includes links to HTML versions of Flash content as well
as teaching ideas and resources for educators. PLEASE NOTE that NATURE OF THE BEAST is only available as an online exhibit (only some works may be found on display in the museum galleries).
These HTML pages replicate the text essays in the Flash section and include
links to larger images of each featured artwork suitable for use in the classroom.
Teacher resources include lesson
plans in the visual arts, language arts, social studies and history,
and science and suggestions for reading, links to other web sites,
and DVD viewing ideas.
Nature of the Beast
In their training, Japanese artists of the Edo period
probably learned to draw and paint birds or insects or monkeys using traditional models, which meant that
they copied the work of their teachers over and over until they could
make perfect copies of their master’s work. Some artists, however,
probably spent time observing animals in their natural habitat. Not
only did they render the animals realistically,
but they also show natural animal behaviors such as courtship displays,
care of young, and feeding.
Artists also worked within the long Japanese tradition of showing imaginary animals and mythological stories.
These mythological animals reflected stories that had been handed down
for many years within Japanese and other Asian societies.
The artworks in the Pacific Asia Museum ’s collections give
students the opportunity to take a look at some of the finest works
that Japanese artists have produced. The three traditions explored
in the Nature
of the Beast online exhibit resonate with students’ interest
in animals and also with the artistic processes used by these extraordinary
Brave (Adobe PDF format, 382 KB) Lower Elementary, SRA
Open Court connection (Language Arts and Visual Art)
Sumi-e Painting (Adobe PDF format, 310 KB) Lower and
Middle Elementary (Visual Art)
Your Own Crypto-Zoo (Adobe PDF format, 562 KB) Middle
Elementary (Visual Arts and Language Arts)
Nature (Adobe PDF format, 478 KB) Upper Elementary to
Middle School (Science and Visual Art)
Reality, Imagination (Adobe PDF format, 39 KB) High
School (Visual Art)
- Print, Online and Media Resources page
- Captions & credits for
all objects on the site, including links to larger versions of each image.
A full glossary of Nature of the Beast-related
terms. This glossary can be adapted by teachers as a vocabulary list.
A page on the Edo
Period Timeline text here.
Pick Your Fave
it's your turn to be an art expert! Pick
your favorite Nature of the Beast artwork and let the world know
what you think. We will post the most intriguing answers on the museum's
website. Check back at www.pacificasiamuseum.org/pickyourfave/ to
see if your opinions were chosen!
Random Monster Generator (click bottom
Games link in Flash module) Traditional Japanese stories are haunted
by monsters (and ghosts). Create your own! The
Random Monster Generator takes your best (or worst?) traits and turns them
into a unique beast to call your own
Find the Beetle (in Flash module only) Can you
Find the Beetle in the artwork? You'll find him sitting on a persimmon, being
studied by a curious monkey. Scroll through some text to find him, then click
More about the team responsible for the creation
of this educational online exhibit.
The Nature of the Beast Flash
module includes all of the above content, plus:
- the ability to zoom in all images to inspect detail
- an interactive timeline and map
- sound files and rotating netsuke sculptures.
The Flash module requires the Flash 6 plug-in; you can click
here to download it from Macromedia.