Births and rebirths in Japanese art: essays celebrating the inauguration of the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures
Hotei Pub., 2001 - Art - 215 pages
This volume brings together five essays by prominent scholars of Japanese studies, each taking up a central topic in Japanese cultural history. Based on a series of lectures marking the inauguration of the Sainsbury Institute in Norwich and London, each essay introduces in concise and readable form subjects that the authors have worked on as part of larger publishing projects. Written or translated specifically for this collection, each author has distilled their views on an aspect of their research that relates to an important artistic, cultural, or intellectual 'birth' or 'rebirth' in Japanese history. Medieval Zen concepts of the transmigration of the soul are explored in Helmut Brinker's discussion of death poems and commemorative portraits of Zen priests. Tsuji Nobuo, moving back and forth between ancient and modern times, tests the tenability of arguments that contemporary enthusiasm for manga and anime in Japan can be seen as a revival of modes of viewing images established as far back as the twelfth century. Focussing on Western influence on Japan during early modern times, Timon Screech analyses controversies over curative practices that occurred in eighteenth-century Japan as symptoms of a struggle over ideological positions that impregnated medical concerns. The final two essays discuss the modern age, with Donald Keene exploring the biography of the individual who occupied the throne during the Meiji Restoration of 1868 and John Rosenfield showing how Nihonga fits into a broader cultural movement motivated by the desire to preserve a national cultural identity.
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