Eight Views (八景)

Eight Views is a manner of scenery valuation in which eight finest sceneries of the region are selected. On the model of Eight Views of Xiaoxiang which were selected in Baisong in the 10th century, Eight Views have been selected under its influence in various places of East Asia, including Taiwan, Korea, Japan and so on. In addition to Eight Views, there are examples of Four Views, Ten Views, Twelve Views and so on.


In many cases Eight Views, like the Eight Views of Xiaoxiang, consist of fixed subjects, but there are also the ones whose targets vary across the ages, like Eight Views of Taiwan. Sometimes the combination of eight sceneries is patterned after the Eight Views of Xiaoxiang, and sometimes it is a selection of mainly well-known scenic spots. In recent years the latter case is increasing. In the former case of the traditional style, each component of Eight Views is a combination of the place for the scenery and the phenomenon or object there.

In some cases (e.g. the Eight Views of Omi) the contents of phenomena and objects for Eight Views completely follow the Eight Views of Xiaoxiang and are fixed on the following eight, and in other cases (e.g. the earliest Eight Views of Taiwan) only a part of the contents is the same as the Eight Views of Xiaoxiang. Haze: originally it is spring or fall haze. There are examples in which haze is replaced by big wind, because it is mistaken for wind blowing through verdure, or replaced by calm after a storm.

Temple bell: a combination of the evening glow with the setting sun and a belfry of a temple in the mountain.

Rain: a scene of the rain in the night.

Evening glow: a combination of the red surface of the water which reflects the evening sun and other object on which the evening sun also shines.

Sail: an evening scene in which ships go back to the port all at once.

Moon: a combination of the fall night moon and its reflection on the surface of the water.

Goose: a flock of geese flying in wide open spaces.

Snow: a mountain covered with snow in the evening or night. To give a concrete example of a component of Eight Views, the Eight Views of Omi has 'Autumn Moon at Ishiyama' (written as 石山秋月), which consists of 'Ishiyama (石山)' (the site of the scene) and 'Fall Moon (秋月)' (a phenomenon at the site). In many cases, as with the Eight Views of Xiaoxiang, the item name is made up of four Kanji (Chinese characters): the first pair and the latter pair (e.g. "金沢八景" Eight Views of Kanazawa). On the other hand, for the New Eight Views of Japan and so on, only the sites are selected and neither phenomenon nor object there is specified. Some Eight Views comprise a mixture of items including phenomena and those including only place names.

The concept of Eight Views was accepted in medieval Japan from around the 16th century, and in Korea from around the 14th century in the late Goryeo period. Partly because Eight Views of Xiaoxiang originated from calligraphic works and paintings, Eight Views have been the favorable subject matter of paintings. They also have been described in many poetries.

Eight Views in Japan

In Japan, the Eight Views of Omi which was originated under the direct influence of the Eight Views of Xiaoxiang is considered to be the first example. Eight Views exist in various places, and more concretely, in more than 400 places across Japan. Many Eight Views were established in the Edo period, including Eight Views of Edo which was designed for a series of Ukiyo-e (Japanese woodblock prints).


Eight Views of Xiaoxiang
Eight Views of Mount Huang
Eight Views of Old Jinzhou
Eight Views of Luda (present-day Dalian)


Eight Views of Taiwan


Eight Views of Korea
Eight Views of Pyongyang
Eight Views of Gwandong
Eight Views of Gwanseo


The list of Eight Views in Japan
the Eight Views of Omi
Eight Views of Kanazawa
Eight Views of Kai
Eight Views of Fukuura
New Eight Views of Japan
Eight Views of Lake Biwa.html">Eight Views of Lake Biwa
Eight Views of Ryukyu

[Original Japanese]