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Osvald Siren’s Journey into Chinese Art
Finnish-Swedish art historian Osvald Sir413n (1879–1966) was one of the pioneers of Chinese art scholarship in the West. This biography focuses on his four major voyages to East Asia: 1918, 1921-1923, 1929-1930, and 1935. This was a pivotal period in Chinese archaeology, art studies, and the formation of Western collections of Chinese art. Sir413n gained international renown as a scholar of Italian art, particularly with his books on Leonardo da Vinci and Giotto. Yet when he was almost forty years old, he became captivated by Chinese art (paintings of Lohans in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston) to such an extent that he decided to start his career anew, in a way. He has left his mark in several fields in Chinese art study: architecture, sculpture, painting, and garden art. This study charts Sir413n’s itineraries during his travels in Japan, Korea, and China. It introduces the various people in those countries as well as in Europe and North America who defined the field in its early stages and were influential as collectors and dealers. Since Sir413n was a theosophist, the book also explores the impact of theosophical ideas in his work.
Art and Early Tokugawa Authority
"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
Faith and Power in Japanese Buddhist Art explores the transformation of Buddhism from the premodern to the contemporary era in Japan and the central role its visual culture has played in this transformation. Although Buddhism is generally regarded as peripheral to modern Japanese society, this book demonstrates otherwise. Its chapters elucidate the thread of change over time in the practice of Buddhism as revealed in temple worship halls and other sites of devotion and in imagery representing the religion’s most popular deities and religious practices. It also introduces the work of modern and contemporary artists who are not generally associated with institutional Buddhism and its canonical visual requirements but whose faith inspires their art. The author makes a persuasive argument that the neglect of these materials by scholars results from erroneous presumptions about the aesthetic superiority of early Japanese Buddhist artifacts and an asserted decline in the institutional power of the religion after the sixteenth century. She demonstrates that recent works constitute a significant contribution to the history of Japanese art and architecture, providing evidence of Buddhism’s compelling presence at all levels of Japanese society and its evolution in response to the needs of new generations of supporters.
Buddhism in the Literary and Visual Arts of Japan
According to the contributors to this volume, the relationship of Buddhism and the arts in Japan is less the rendering of Buddhist philosophical ideas through artistic imagery than it is the development of concepts and expressions in a virtually inseparable unity. By challenging those who consider religion to be the primary phenomenon and art the secondary arena for the apprehension of religious meanings, these essays reveal the collapse of other dichotomies as well. Touching on works produced at every social level, they explore a fascinating set of connections within Japanese culture and move to re-envision such usual distinctions as religion and art, sacred and secular, Buddhism and Shinto, theory and substance, elite and popular, and even audience and artist. The essays range from visual and literary hagiographies to No drama, to Sermon-Ballads, to a painting of the Nirvana of Vegetables. The contributors to the volume are James H. Foard, Elizabeth ten Grotenhuis, Frank Hoff, Laura S. Kaufman, William R. LaFleur, Susan Matisoff, Barbara Ruch, Yoshiaki Shimizu, and Royall Tyler.
Originally published in 1992.
The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.
Raku Potters, Patrons, and Tea Practitioners in Japan
Handmade Culture is the first comprehensive and cohesive study in any language to examine Raku, one of Japan’s most famous arts and a pottery technique practiced around the world. More than a history of ceramics, this innovative work considers four centuries of cultural invention and reinvention during times of both political stasis and socioeconomic upheaval. It combines scholarly erudition with an accessible story through its lively and lucid prose and its generous illustrations. The author’s own experiences as the son of a professional potter and a historian inform his unique interdisciplinary approach, manifested particularly in his sensitivity to both technical ceramic issues and theoretical historical concerns. Handmade Culture makes ample use of archaeological evidence, heirloom ceramics, tea diaries, letters, woodblock prints, and gazetteers and other publications to narrate the compelling history of Raku, a fresh approach that sheds light not only on an important traditional art from Japan, but on the study of cultural history itself.
The first three centuries of the Heian period (794–1086) saw some of its most fertile innovations and epochal achievements in Japanese literature and the arts. It was also a time of important transitions in the spheres of religion and politics, as aristocratic authority was consolidated in Kyoto, powerful court factions and religious institutions emerged, and adjustments were made in the Chinese-style system of ruler-ship. At the same time, the era’s leaders faced serious challenges from the provinces that called into question the primacy and efficiency of the governmental system and tested the social/cultural status quo. Heian Japan, Centers and Peripheries, the first book of its kind to examine the early Heian from a wide variety of multidisciplinary perspectives, offers a fresh look at these seemingly contradictory trends. Essays by fourteen leading American, European, and Japanese scholars of art history, history, literature, and religions take up core texts and iconic images, cultural achievements and social crises, and the ever-fascinating patterns and puzzles of the time. The authors tackle some of Heian Japan’s most enduring paradigms as well as hitherto unexplored problems in search of new ways of understanding the currents of change as well as the processes of institutionalization that shaped the Heian scene, defined the contours of its legacies, and make it one of the most intensely studied periods of the Japanese past.
Biography of a Global Icon
Hokusai’s “Great Wave,” as it is commonly known today, is arguably one of Japan’s most successful exports, its commanding cresting profile instantly recognizable no matter how different its representations in media and style. In this richly illustrated and highly original study, Guth examines the iconic wave from its first publication in 1831 through the remarkable range of its articulations, arguing that it has been a site where the tensions, contradictions, and, especially, the productive creativities of the local and the global have been negotiated and expressed. She follows the wave’s trajectory across geographies, linking its movements with larger political, economic, technological, and sociocultural developments. Adopting a case study approach, Guth explores issues that map the social life of the iconic wave across time and place, from the initial reception of the woodblock print in Japan, to the image’s adaptations as part of “international nationalism,” its place in American perceptions of Japan, its commercial adoption for lifestyle branding, and finally to its identification as a tsunami, bringing not culture but disaster in its wake.
Wide ranging in scope yet grounded in close readings of disparate iterations of the wave, multidisciplinary and theoretically informed in its approach, Hokusai’s Great Wave will change both how we look at this global icon and the way we study the circulation of Japanese prints. This accessible and engagingly written work moves beyond the standard hagiographical approach to recognize, as categories of analysis, historical and geographic contingency as well as visual and technical brilliance. It is a book that will interest students of Japan and its culture and more generally those seeking fresh perspectives on the dynamics of cultural globalization.
Representations of Sacred Geography
The first broad study of Japanese mandalas to appear in a Western language, this volume interprets mandalas as sanctified realms where identification between the human and the sacred occurs. The author investigates eighth- to seventeenth-century paintings from three traditions: Esoteric Buddhism, Pure Land Buddhism, and the kami-worshipping (Shinto) tradition. It is generally recognized that many of these mandalas are connected with texts and images from India and the Himalayas. A pioneering theme of this study is that, in addition to the South Asian connections, certain paradigmatic Japanese mandalas reflect pre-Buddhist Chinese concepts, including geographical concepts. In convincing and lucid prose, ten Grotenhuis chronicles an intermingling of visual, doctrinal, ritual, and literary elements in these mandalas that has come to be seen as characteristic of the Japanese religious tradition as a whole. This beautifully illustrated work begins in the first millennium B.C.E. in China with an introduction to the Book of Documents and ends in present-day Japan at the sacred site of Kumano. Ten Grotenhuis focuses on the Diamond and Womb World mandalas of Esoteric Buddhist tradition, on the Taima mandala and other related mandalas from the Pure Land Buddhist tradition, and on mandalas associated with the kami-worshipping sites of Kasuga and Kumano. She identifies specific sacred places in Japan with sacred places in India and with Buddhist cosmic diagrams. Through these identifications, the realm of the buddhas is identified with the realms of the kami and of human beings, and Japanese geographical areas are identified with Buddhist sacred geography. Explaining why certain fundamental Japanese mandalas look the way they do and how certain visual forms came to embody the sacred, ten Grotenhuis presents works that show a complex mixture of Indian Buddhist elements, pre-Buddhist Chinese elements, Chinese Buddhist elements, and indigenous Japanese elements.
Iwasa Katsumochi Matabei, Bridge to Ukiyo-e
Iwasa Katsumochi Matabei (1578-1650) is one of the most controversial figures in Japanese art history. For more than half a century, historians have argued over Matabei's role in Japanese art: Was he, as he asserted, "The Last Tosa" (the school of painters who specialized in Yamato-e, a kind of classical courtly painting) or, as others characterized him, "The Founder of Ukiyo-e," the style of painting associated with the urban commoner class. In this highly original and convincing study, Matabei emerges as both--an artist in whose work can be seen elements of both Yamato-e and Ukiyo-e.
Extending its analysis beyond the individual artist, The Last Tosa examines the trends and artistic developments of a transitional period and makes heretofore unexamined connections between the world of the aristocrat and the merchant as well as the two artistic schools that reflected their tastes. It addresses these larger issues by identifying Matabei as a member of a social group known as machishu. Excerpts from noblemen's diaries, an investigation of the etymology of machishu, and an analysis of art by its members, indicate that machishu included both commoners and gentry, thus revealing a rich tradition of egalitarianism--an important departure from the conventionally held belief that seventeenth-century Japan's urban society was rigidly stratified.
The Last Tosa provides an exhaustive study of Matabei's paintings, including all his important works and key attributions. Translations of all documents available on Matabei are given, in particular his travel diary, a unique source, the only known example of such a text by a seventeeth-century classical painter. With its fusion of cultural history with political, social, and economic history, this sophisticated study will appeal to not only art historians, but also to students of history, anthropology, and culture studies interested in questions of group identity and the political uses of culture.
Yoga, the Western Painting of Japan, 1912 -1955
Maximum Embodiment presents a compelling thesis articulating the historical character of Yoga, literally the “Western painting” of Japan. The term designates what was arguably the most important movement in modern Japanese art from the late nineteenth to the mid-twentieth centuries. Perhaps the most critical marker of Yoga was its association with the medium of oil-on-canvas, which differed greatly from the water-based pigments and inks of earlier Japanese painting. Yoga encompassed both establishment fine art and avant-gardist insurgencies, but in both cases, as the term suggests, it was typically focused on techniques, motifs, canons, or iconographies that were obtained in Europe and deployed by Japanese artists. Despite recent advances in Yoga studies, important questions remain unanswered: What specific visuality did the protagonists of Yoga seek from Europe and contribute to modern Japanese society? What qualities of representation were so dearly coveted as to stimulate dedication to the pursuit of Yoga? What distinguished Yoga in Japanese visual culture? This study answers these questions by defining a paradigm of embodied representation unique to Yoga painting that may be conceptualized in four registers: first, the distinctive materiality of oil paint pigments on the picture surface; second, the depiction of palpable human bodies; third, the identification of the act and product of painting with a somatic expression of the artist’s physical being; and finally, rhetorical metaphors of political and social incorporation. The so-called Western painters of Japan were driven to strengthen subjectivity by maximizing a Japanese sense of embodiment through the technical, aesthetic, and political means suggested by these interactive registers of embodiment. Balancing critique and sympathy for the twelve Yoga painters who are its principal protagonists, Maximum Embodiment investigates the quest for embodiment in some of the most compelling images of modern Japanese art. The valiant struggles of artists to garner strongly embodied positions of subjectivity in the 1910s and 1930s gave way to despairing attempts at fathoming and mediating the horrifying experiences of real life during and after the war in the 1940s and 1950s. The very properties of Yoga that had been so conducive to expressing forceful embodiment now produced often gruesome imagery of the destruction of bodies. Combining acute visual analysis within a convincing conceptual framework, this volume provides an original account of how the drive toward maximum embodiment in early twentieth-century Yoga was derailed by an impulse toward maximum disembodiment.