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Refracted Modernity

Yuko Kikuchi

Publication Year: 2007

Since the mid-1990s Taiwanese artists have been responsible for shaping much of the international contemporary art scene, yet studies on modern Taiwanese art published outside of Taiwan are scarce. The nine essays collected here present different perspectives on Taiwanese visual culture and landscape during the Japanese colonial period (1895–1945), focusing variously on travel writings, Western and Japanese/Oriental-style paintings, architecture, aboriginal material culture, and crafts. Issues addressed include the imagined Taiwan and the "discovery" of the Taiwanese landscape, which developed into the imperial ideology of nangoku (southern country); the problematic idea of "local color," which was imposed by Japanese, and its relation to the "nativism" that was embraced by Taiwanese; the gendered modernity exemplified in the representation of Chinese/Taiwanese women; and the development of Taiwanese artifacts and crafts from colonial to postcolonial times, from their discovery, estheticization, and industrialization to their commodification by both the colonizers and the colonized.

Published by: University of Hawai'i Press


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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii-viii

This book emerged from a joint project, “Refracted Colonial Modernity: Japanese Cultural Imperialism and Modern Taiwanese Identities in Art & Design,” which began in 1999 under an umbrella project, “Modernity and Identity in Non-Western Art & Design,” ...

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Note on Transliteration

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pp. ix

Japanese words are rendered in the Hepburn romanization system. Chinese, Japanese, and Korean names are given in their customary order, with family name first, except for the contributors to this volume and in citations to authors whose work is published in English ...

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pp. 1-18

Taiwan is certainly regarded as an economic tiger in Asia, but it has not, until recently, been regarded as a cultural producer. Taiwanese art was studied, if at all, as a subset of Chinese art. While the Palace Museum in Taipei has long been regarded as the premier repository of Chinese art, ...

Part l. Images of Taiwan and the Discovery of the Taiwanese Landscape

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1. Colonial Encounters: Japanese Travel Writing on Colonial Taiwan

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pp. 21-38

Colonial travel is a form of appropriation of colonies by the metropole. In a sense it is a sign of the “maturing” of the metropole as an imperial power, as the metropole begins to take a cultural interest in its periphery, even if only as a means of reinforcing its own identity. Accordingly, an interest in colonial tourism ...

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2. The Beauty of the Untamed: Exploration and Travel in Colonial Taiwanese Landscape Painting

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pp. 39-66

Discovering Taiwan beneath its economic and exotic exterior was a popular trend both before and after the period of Japanese Occupation. Exploration and travel to little-known destinations could be interpreted as a kind of expansionism with an imperial desire.1 ...

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3. Japanese Landscape Painting and Taiwan: Modernity, Colonialism, and National Identity

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pp. 67-82

In examining how Japanese landscape painting expressed the issues of modernity, colonialism, and national identity specifically in relation to Taiwan, my aim is not to investigate the response of the colonized, the Taiwanese, which is dealt with elsewhere in this volume, but to explore what these issues meant ...

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4. The Demise of Oriental-style Painting in Taiwan

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pp. 83-108

During the period of Japanese rule in Taiwan (1895–1945), the Japanese introduced modern art, mainly in the areas of Western-style painting (seiyōga) and Japanese-style painting (nihonga). Of these, Western-style painting received more emphasis. Art education in the primary and secondary schools of the time ...

Part ll. Images by and about Women

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5. The Changing Representation of Women in Modern Japanese Paintings

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pp. 111-132

In this essay I discuss issues of gender and colonialism by analyzing the images of women in paintings exhibited in major exhibitions in Japan before 1945. In these exhibitions, increasingly numerous images of women in Chinese dress contrasted sharply with the images of women in kimono. ...

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6. Modernity, Power, and Gender: Images of Women by Taiwanese Female Artists under Japanese Rule

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pp. 133-166

In Taiwanese society during the Qing dynasty, only males had the right to receive education. Prior to the modern era, Taiwanese women did not have the chance to learn ink painting techniques, which were part of Confucian education leading to civil examinations. ...

Part lll. Construction of Taiwan's Vernacular Landscape

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7. Taiwaneseness in Japanese Period Architecture in Taiwan

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pp. 169-192

The island of Taiwan is situated off the southeast coast of the Chinese mainland. Ever since it was named “Ilha Formosa” (Beautiful Island) by the Portuguese as they sailed down the west coast of the island in the sixteenth century, Taiwan’s history has been marked by a series of colonizations that created ...

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8. Taiwanese Aboriginal Art and Artifacts: Entangled Images of Colonization and Modernization

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pp. 193-216

It is obvious that upon their production, utilization, and transaction, all objects have embedded material attributes and cultural meanings, while as socially and culturally salient entities, objects also construct culture-crossing paths based on material stability and visibility. However, such culture crossing is never “free”; ...

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9. Refracted Colonial Modernity: Vernacularism in the Development of Modern Taiwanese Crafts

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pp. 217-248

This chapter, which investigates the issue of Taiwanese identity in crafts, focuses mainly on the discourses of “vernacularism” and the invention of “native Taiwaneseness” during the Japanese colonial period and includes some extended discussion on the continuity and transformation of crafts in the postcolonial period. ...


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pp. 249-272


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pp. 273-276


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pp. 277-285

E-ISBN-13: 9780824864101
Print-ISBN-13: 9780824830502

Publication Year: 2007