Center for Geographic Analysis Harvard University
Additional navigation

You are here

Unfolding the landscape drawing method of Rakuchū Rakugai Zu screen paintings in a GIS environment

In this paper, I propose a new methodology for analysing landscape drawing methods using a GIS. The subject of my analysis is the genre of Japanese screen paintings known as rakuchu rakugai zu ¯ , created between the 16th and 18th centuries. Rakuchu rakugai zu ¯ provide bird’s-eye views of the then-capital city of Kyoto, including buildings, natural features, and human activities. The methodology introduced here uses GIS spatial analysis functions to scan the painting surface onto a survey coordinate grid based on the relative positions of landmarks in the painting. The analytic sequence is as follows: (1) derive coordinate values for landmarks both on the painting and on a survey coordinate grid; (2) generate a link table from these two point-data sets; (3) use the projective transformation and rubber sheeting techniques to project the painting surface onto the survey coordinate grid; and (4) project the areas of the rubber sheet-derived polygons onto the painting. This process gives visual representation to differences between real space and the depicted space. Results show that rakuchu rakugai zu ¯ painted in the seventeenth century
and later distorted real space more than those painted in the sixteenth century, indicating a decrease in adherence to conventional perspective-based painting.

Publication Date  October, 2009
Author(s)  Akihiro Tsukamoto
International Journal of Humanities and Arts Computing 3 (1–2) 2009, 39–60
Publication type  Articles