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The Eyes of Power

Art and Early Tokugawa Authority

Karen M. Gerhart

Publication Year: 1999

"In her very interesting and provocative book, Gerhart considers a number of artistic sites as defining the Tokugawa 'political agenda'. Among these are the Ninomaru (Nijo) Palace, Nagoya Castle and the Nikko ... Mausoleum (the resting place of Ieyasu)." --Donald Richie, Japan Times, 23 November 1999 "As a title, The Eyes of Power suggests a role for art and architecture as tools of shogunal surveillance and suppression. In this book we find instead artistic ingenuity employed to provide a new establishment with a credible, even exultant, visual ideology." --Monumenta Nipponica 56 (2001) "Gerhart is to be commended for choosing a big subject and putting it together in a readable fashion. The book will serve diverse constituencies, including undergraduate and graduate students, specialists in art history, and those who want to learn more about how the visual trappings of power were constructed by the early 17th-century Japanese elite." --CAA.reviews

Published by: University of Hawai'i Press


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pp. v

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pp. vii-viii

Although I would like to think that all the work herein is my own, I am indebted to the painstaking research and support of many teachers and colleagues, without whom this book would not have been possible. From the beginning of my work on Kano Tan’yû, Stephen Addiss has been my teacher, a supportive friend, and a constant adviser. Kòno Motoaki, Tokyo ...

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pp. ix-xv

Art is about looking. As we look at art, it becomes the object of our gaze, and an image of its creators is reflected through our eyes. Art, therefore, is not passive. Viewers quickly identify with what they see and are affected by that vision, making it an active part of their reality. The audience, therefore, is shaped and influenced by art. Conversely, art is influenced ...

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1. Pine Trees as Political Iconography at Nijō Castle

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pp. 1-34

It was noon on the sixth day of the ninth month of 1626 when Emperor Gomizunoo (1596–1680, r. 1611–1629) set out on a short and singular journey to visit the Ninomaru Palace of Nijò Castle,1 the Kyoto residence of the third Tokugawa shogun, Iemitsu (1604–1651, r. 1623–1651). This grand and sumptuous castle, located just a few blocks from the emperor’s own imperial palace, was representative of a centuries-long power ...

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2. Chinese Exemplars and Virtuous Rulers at Nagoya Castle

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pp. 35-72

In 1634, less than a decade after Emperor Gomizunoo made his imperial progress to Nij

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3. Nikkō’s Yōmeimon: Sculpture and Sacred Landscape

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pp. 73-106

Located in a dense cryptomeria forest a three-hour train ride north from the metropolitan center of Tokyo, Nikkò Tòshògû, the seventeenth-century mausoleum and place of worship (reibyò) for Tokugawa Ieyasu’s (1542–1616) deified spirit, still attracts crowds of visitors to its grounds on a daily basis. The ornamental majesty of its buildings draws unrestrained cries of wonderment from many of those who stand before its ...

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4. The Tōshō Daigongen engi as Political Propaganda

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pp. 107-140

The twenty-first anniversary of Tokugawa Ieyasu’s death was celebrated with extraordinary pomp and ceremony on the seventeenth day of the fourth month of 1636 (Kan’ei 13). A new shrine complex, with splendid architecture, sumptuous interior decorations, and elaborately sculpted and polychromed gates, was constructed at tremendous cost. Still, this was not enough. Shogun Tokugawa Iemitsu wanted assurance that his ...

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pp. 141-146

Art produced by the political center during the heyday of Iemitsu’s rule, from about 1624 to 1640, consisted of monumental structures decorated with symbolic and complex images initiated or approved by Shogun Iemitsu and meant to legitimate his own power and to give his reign an aura of cultured sophistication. Although the monuments were, in cases like castles, clearly visible to the public, the public targeted by the art examined in this study was the elite, namely, the court and other powerful ...


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pp. 147-186


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pp. 187-198


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pp. 199-211

E-ISBN-13: 9780824864705
Print-ISBN-13: 9780824820633

Publication Year: 1999