Abstract

Abstract:

This essay explores a preliminary attempt to map the circulation and use of Korean ceramics, specifically tea bowls, in sixteenth-century Japan, using the integrated application, Palladio, developed at Humanities + Design, Stanford University. I focus on the diaries kept by sixteenth-century Japanese merchants, who were active collectors and participants of Japanese tea practice called chanoyu: a cultural forum where Korean tea bowls became highly valuable items among Japanese elites from 1537 onwards. The four diaries, Matsuya kaiki, Tennōjiya kaiki, Imai Sōkyū chanoyu nikki nukigaki, and Sōtan nikki, which document tea gatherings that took place in sixteenth-century Japan, demonstrate the growing popularity of Korean tea bowls among merchants, warriors, and Buddhist monks. While these historical texts are key sources of information on the appreciation of premodern Korean ceramics in Japan, they have been overlooked by scholars of Korean art history, since their renown has been limited to the specialized field of premodern Japanese tea culture. Moreover, the idiosyncratic format of these diaries requires knowledge of premodern Japanese tea practice to understand, and there have been no formal translations into other languages, making them inaccessible to those who do not read Japanese. Palladio presents the opportunity to digitally visualize and map the author's own English translation of more than 600 diary entries from 1537 to 1591 that mention Korean ceramics. I consider how data visualization can expand our understanding of the transnational impact of premodern Korean ceramics, and facilitate the introduction of unfamiliar primary sources to the field of Korean studies.

pdf