Next we will analyze Asian visualizations of landscape and the world. Habib Allah’s The Concourse of the Birds, 1609, depicts birds, deer, and a hunter, poised with a rifle, within a rocky garden. If compared to Levitan’s Above Eternal Peace, 1894),  the differences in perceptions and representations of landscape are apparent. While the European work has a low horizon and consistent scale adjustment (things get smaller the further they are), the Persian painting displays a tilted upward ground line, high horizon, lack of consistent scale, and unnatural coloration which is more stylized and decorative than naturalistic. Also note how some objects extend outside of the frame, again disrupting the naturalistic perception into a three dimensional landscape. Simply put, the Asian artist relies on disegno interno and the Western artist on disegno esterno.




To take the issue further, the Tibetan thangka, The Wheel of Life, 19th century, represents the metaphysical wheel of transmigration, or reincarnation. Depending on one’s karma, at death s/he will either go to heaven or hell till their next birth. Paintings such as this would be hung in one’s home as an object of contemplation and prayer. A large monstrous guardian (with three eyes, skulls in its hair, and claws on its feet and hands), holds the wheel in its mouth and hands. The imaging of the five realms of the afterlife have distinct groundlines and geographical details. The scene at the bottom and bottom right represent hell with its fiery cauldrons and punishments for the damned. Again, symbolic scale, color, and perspective override disegno esterno.