Final Report

"Expanding Edo Art" was a one-day workshop sponsored by the Donald Keene Center at Columbia University on February 20, 1999. The original modest plan for a small gathering drew an unexpectedly large response. More than 75 people participated.

Following the welcome by Peter Grilli (Donald Keene Center), Henry Smith (Columbia University) gave the opening remarks. He said that the workshop had been inspired by the exhibition "Edo: Art in Japan 1615-1868" that was shown at the National Gallery in Washington DC from November 1998 to February 1999. He stressed that the workshop was not at all intended as a critical review of that exhibition, but rather to provide the occasion to think about the future of Edo art studies. The title "Expanding Edo Art" was intended to suggest the need to expand categories and to reconsider in a cross-disciplinary way what is meant both by "Edo" and by "art." The workshop was organized into four sessions, with three "provocateurs" per session. The primary disciplines represented art history, history, and literature. Each provocateur spoke for about 10-15 minutes, leaving ample time for discussion.

Session I: The Canon of "Edo Art" in Present and Past Perspective

This session was designed to raise the issue of the canon: in conjunction with the way in which exhibitions are today constructed to perpetuate it; in regards to the Edo-period formation of it; and in consideration of what has been neglected in it. Melanie Trede (Columbia University) moderated.


It began with the vantage point of the present. Yoshiaki Shimizu (Princeton University) presented "An Exhibition on Paper: The Edo Show That Never Was," his 1994 proposal to the National Gallery for an Edo exhibition, broader in scope than the "typical Edo show," that ultimately was rejected in favor of the Bunkachô-sponsored exhibition that just took place. His proposal emphasized multiplicity and a focus on the work by and for the lower echelons of society, notably farmers, merchants, and craftsmen. He sought to include works other than the designated masterpieces and to pay attention to links among schools rather than observing the usual divisions among artistic traditions. Among other things, his proposal emphasized the applied arts of the plebian classes, peripheral cultures such as the Ainu and Ryukyu, and the Edo fascination with the outside world.

Next, the perspective moved to the past as John Carpenter (Vanderbilt University) spoke on "Historicism in Late Edo Ukiyo-e and the Breakdown of Traditional Artistic Categories." In focusing on a painting by Kuwagata Keisai inscribed by Sakai Hoitsu, he stressed the intermingling of genres that we ordinarily consider separately: ukiyo-e and Rinpa are combined in the painting, together with Kôetsu-style calligraphy quoting a Zen priest. He viewed the work as an example of a much wider trend of cross-fertilization in ukiyo-e. To him, it was a case of the late Edo historicism comparable to what Stephen Bann describes in "Romanticism and the Rise of Historicism." (in Bann, The Inventions of History: Essays on the Representation of the Past, Manchester University Press, 1990). Carpenter also mentioned that in his work on the Ukiyo-e ruikô he saw the making of art history, particularly the desire to elevate the standing of ukiyo-e by making it the true heir of Yamato-e. Worth noting historically was the coincidence in time of the breakdown of separate genres and the new awareness of the history of art.

Lawrence Marceau (University of Delaware) was last in the session with "Woodblock Illustrated Books: Disseminating Images in Early Modern Japan." He urged greater consideration of the role of the printed media in spreading imagery, and the need to revive the long-neglected text-image paradigm in our understanding of "Edo art." His talk focused on a book of calligraphy and poetry by Ueda Akinari that was illustrated by Kawamura Bunpô and Watanabe Nangaku. When re-printed in different books, the images became disassociated with the poems. He suggested that Craig Clunas's thesis that printing in China led to the appropriation of elite images and dissemination to the masses would be applicable to Japan as well. (Craig Clunas, "The Work of Art in the Age of Woodblock Reproduction" in Clunas, Pictures and Visuality in Early Modern China, Princeton Univ. Press, 1997). However, in the case of Japan he saw more of an expansion of the canon, as entirely new images and new texts were produced and circulated through the expansion of print culture.


Exhibiting Edo

Yoshiaki Shimizu's "Edo Show That Never Was" was the source of animated discussion, not limited to Session I, but throughout the day. Several participants made reference to the underlying political agenda of the Bunkachô. David Pollack (University of Rochester) remarked that he found their role reminiscent of the medieval dôbôshû, in the way that they inserted themselves into the position of interpreting art, both aesthetically and politically, to the unaware group. Christine Guth (Independent Scholar) saw historical continuities: the Bunkachô continues the control of "national cultural capital" that began in the Meiji period with Japan's international exhibitions. The Bunkachô makes selections according to their desire to control the image of Japan abroad. She also pointed out that Shimizu's selection of objects, rather than being totally outside of the canon, showed that there are many canons. In fact, all of Shimizu's categories were included in Noma Seiroku's introductory text. She thought the biggest problem here was the one of audience, the desire to control what was shown to the general audience along with the government's desire to maintain control over images.

Several involved in exhibitions recounted their personal frustrations with the agenda of the Bunkachô and other governmental organizers. John Carpenter spoke of how he had tried to persuade the organizers of the recent "Edo" show to do a section on Edo classicism, but was instead asked to be responsible for "Entertainment." He said that as he worked on the Edo exhibition, he was constantly told rather that "This is the National Gallery" in justification of the refusal of his ideas. Nicole Rousmaniere (Sainsbury Institute) remarked that in being responsible for selecting the ceramics for the same show, she had detected an agenda towards selecting meibutsu works of kiln lineages that are still produced today. Doris Croissant (University of Heidelberg) described her "unending chain of frustration and disappointment" that she had with the German organizers and the Bunkachô in the Berlin Exhibition of 1993, "Japan und Europa." The original concept was to focus on the Japanese response to Western art on from the late Edo to the Meiji period. The German organizers feared that it would be a diplomatic disaster to focus on Japanese response to Western painting. The Bunkachô made the original focus impossible by not giving them access to the quality objects that they requested. The scope of the exhibition consequently widened to include the reverse influence of Japanese culture on Europe. Thus, not long before the exhibition's opening, the number of objects and categories dramatically multiplied, making it a huge headache to prepare the catalogue and show. However, the didactic purpose of the exhibition, to show that Japan took the initiative to confront the arts of the West long before the opening of Japan, hence allowing the reverse to happen in the West, seemed to be successfully communicated to the public.

There gradually emerged in the discussion a more balanced view of the historical role and policies of the Bunkachô, and more complex views of the constrictions of most mega-shows. Henry Smith mentioned the relevance to this issue of Shimizu's paper on "Japan in Museums: Which Japan?," presented at the Freer Gallery symposium on Asia in Museums in October 1998 (soon to be published). The general argument of the paper was that an analysis of exhibitions of Japanese art in the 1950s and 60s reveals that it was just as much the desire of American scholars to show the designated masterpieces of Japan as that of Japanese cultural officials.

Kawai Masatomo (Keiô University), from his experience with the Bunkachô defended its policies from several perspectives. He said that the basic function of the Bunkachô was granting the permission to loan National Treasures and Important Cultural Properties abroad. This type of policy originated with foreigners. In the postwar period, as the Shimizu talk on "Japan in Museums" demonstrated, Japanese were encouraged by the Americans themselves to promote their art as a way of improving relations between the two countries through art. Recently, the Bunkachô has been changing, it is now the policy to encourage American concepts for shows. Moreover, the Bunkachô now realizes that that there can be no universal or absolute agreement on the value of works and they are trying in general to be more flexible in their activities.

Timon Screech (SOAS, University of London) asked about whether the Bunkachô exercises control over exhibitions domestically. The answer was that the Bunkachô supports exhibitions within Japan, but does not guide them in any way.

In the later wrap-up discussion, Ann Yonemura (Sackler Gallery of Art) said that she had been somewhat disheartened by the polarized schema of American curators vs. the Bunkachô that had emerged in the earlier discussion, and by the assumption that it had to be an adversarial relationship between the two. In her experience with the Bunkachô, curating at the Sackler Gallery the 1992 "Ancient Japan" exhibition and the 1997 "Twelve Centuries of Japanese Art from the Imperial Collection" exhibition, which had the Japan Foundation and the Kunaichô as co-organizers, she found the Japanese representatives quite flexible. She pointed out that for the recent National Gallery "Edo" show, the third big player was the National Gallery itself, raising the question of how that particular institution approaches the exhibition business. A number of factors are involved on the Bunkachô side. They have to guarantee the exact duration of the loan from pick-up to delivery. Also a requested work might be the main treasure of a museum, and thus hard to loan out. She spoke in particular about the "Ancient Japan" exhibition that she curated with Richard Pearson. The original list from the Bunkachô included a huge number of Jômon pots, a similar number of Yayoi vessels, and 200 arrow heads. They managed to negotiate changes so as to include a number of works not normally exhibited, such as Jômon lacquer. Ultimately, they were able to show the entire evolution of Japanese culture into the historical period in a way that encompassed much more than just the usual ceramics. The public reacted favorably, with 90,000 people attending (about one-half that of the Daimyo mega-show). But Yonemura stressed that she struggled just as much with the museum's own staff as with the Bunkachô. She and Richard Pearson had to fight with the head designer in order to show wooden tools from the Yayoi, because the designer didn't consider them attractive.

In the case of the National Gallery, she noted, the production staff far outnumbers the curatorial staff, since they do more than twenty major loan shows per year. At the Sackler, the text for a show is written by the curators, but at the National Gallery it is written by the production staff, contrary to normal procedure. Yonemura believes that the public can appreciate an intelligent, well-conceived show, and there is no need to water things down. But the curators do have to be a part of the presentation. She argued that presentation is more important than the catalogue, and that a good catalogue cannot make up for a bad presentation.


The discussion of historicism in the late Edo period that was raised in John Carpenter's talk proceeded in the direction of trying to pinpoint Edo historicism more clearly.

Responding to Timon Screech's question about the construction of the notion of "wayô" during the Edo period, Carpenter said that he saw this happening in the late 16th to early 17th century, as manifested by the phenomenon of calligraphy works being cut up and placed in albums. Thus, when 19th-century artists and others looked back to the Heian period, they really were seeing what had been constructed during the 17th century.

Allen Hockley (Dartmouth College) pointed out that the historicizing and systematizing of the Ukiyo-e ruikô was very connected to what Mito School historians were doing in the Dai Nihonshi.

Roger Keyes (Center for the Study of Japanese Prints) remarked on how prevalent the ukiyo-e crossover of styles was from the late 18th century on, as in Utamaro. He sees this fusion as the conscious and deliberate creation of a new style rather than merely a reference to the past.

In later discussions, the issue of how the historicism of the 19th century differed from that of the 17th century was brought up. [See "Periodization" below].

Text/Image and Print Culture Paradigm

Lawrence Marceau (University of Delaware) stressed the back-and-forth relationship between image and text. For instance, he suggested, we shouldn't think of images as merely illustrating prior texts: sometimes the reverse is true, with text illustrating the image.

Henry Smith pointed out how vast print culture was, and that it went far beyond the somewhat limited and often rarified realm of illustrated books (ehon) today valorized as art. We should include in print culture a far more extensive range of printed imagery, including diagrams, scientific and technical drawings, maps, and so forth, all of which cross-fertilize. Smith also suggested that it is not just the text/image relationship that needs to be considered, but also the relationship among separate images within the same frame, as in the phenomenon of the gachûga, or "picture within a picture," of which a good example is the "koma-e" pictorial cartouche that was pervasive in ukiyo-e bijinga of the Bunsei period. Much work needs to be done to understand how these actually functioned.

Loss /Erasure

Christine Guth proposed that the notion of expanding the canon implicitly involved both loss and erasure. The destruction of the Kyoto Imperial Palace by fire on New Year's Day, 1788, perhaps contributed to reinvention of court culture in subsequent years. Timon Screech agreed that there was a profound erasure as a result of the Kyoto fire in contrast to the Meireki Fire of 1657 in Edo. In this regard, he sees rather sees Matsudaira Sadanobu as pivotal to the canonization of art that took place in the Edo period. Lawrence Marceau responded that possibly there was an unconscious fear of loss present in the proliferation of print media.


The second session was designed in part to focus on the problem of periodization. Henry Smith (Columbia University), as moderator, began with two questions: Why talk of the "Edo" as a single period, when there are many periods within it? Also, must we always accept the beginning and end of the "Edo period" according to the change of political? Spatiality relates to periodization in that periods are often defined by their centers of power (Nara, Heian Kamakura, Muromachi, Edo). Also, particular ways of paying attention to space, such as patterns of replication or the use of "mnemonic sites" [see below] may help us characterize periods. Recommended reading for this session was Carol Gluck, "The Invention of Edo" in Stephen Vlastos, ed., Mirror of Modernity (Univ. of California Press, 1998).


The talks began with Lee Butler (Brigham Young University) speaking on "The Legacy of Kyoto and the Long Sixteenth Century for 'Edo Art'." He insisted on a Kamigata perspective for the early Edo period, and especially a focus on architecture and on the social formation of art. He proposed a "long 16th century" (from the Ônin Wars to mid-17th century) as: 1) showing a continuity of patronage, when works were generally still privately commissioned, but often had a multi-layered patronage; 2) being Kyoto-centered, with the capital inspiring the creation of "Little Kyotos" (Shô-Kyôto) in the provinces; and 3) giving emphasis to the significant place of the imperial court under the old regime.

Matthew McKelway (University of Pittsburgh) spoke next on "Kumano in Edo: Replication and Rebuilding at Nyakuichi Ôji Shrine" as site replication and reassociation that has been recognized as part of a strategy of legitimation on the part of the Tokugawa regime. He focused on an engi scroll of the Nyakuichi Ôji Shrine ("Ôji Gongen") in Edo, which was established by Iemitsu; the scroll was painted by Kano Naonobu and has a text by Hayashi Razan. Through this example, he sought to raise three issues: 1) the replication in Edo of Kamigata holy places; 2) the political or ideological role of this replication; and 3) the function of the traditional format of the narrative handscroll, specifically the engi, or the legendary-historical narrative model. He proposed a "short 17th century" [see below for definition] as an extended moment of tension between a kind of classicism in some arts and representational innovation in others.

The last speaker of the morning was Tamaki Maeda (University of Washington), with a talk entitled "The Image of the 46 Rônin in Transition: Tomioka Tessai's Transmission of Bushidô Beyond the Edo Period." She focussed on Tessai's images of the 46 Rônin, particularly Ôishi Yoshio, as a "mnemonic site" (a phrase from Takashi Fujitani, Splendid Monarchy: Power and Pageantry in Modern Japan, Univ. of California Press, 1996). She argued that Tessai's involvement with the shishi loyalists and his life-long adherence to their values was evidenced in both his painting and inscriptions, and saw the valorization of the 46 heroes during the Meiji period as evidence for continuity in art and politics from Edo to Meiji.



Andrew Maske (Rhode Island School of Design) proposed an art historical periodization according to dominant style and taste, determined by perceived stylistic differences from a previous period in a way that reflected the social and political situation of the time. Taking a more micro view, he wondered if we shouldn't emphasize the era names as Japanese cultural historians do--Kan'ei, Kanbun, Genroku, Kansei, Bunka-Bunsei, and so forth. If one of these doesn't fit, perhaps scholars could invent one. He was also intrigued by Matthew McKelway's use of a "short 17th century," which Matthew obliged by defining as "between the end of the long 16th century and Genroku, roughly 1620 to 1680 . . . but don't start carving it in stone!"

Melanie Trede remarked that Edo painting, particularly 17th century painting, need to be better understood according to the network of links among artists and historians. She suggested that the 17th century was perhaps more historicist than the 19th century in their establishment of "tradition."

Tomi Suzuki (Columbia University), who with Haruo Shirane have edited a book soon to appear on canonization in Japanese literature, remarked that the characterization of the Edo period as one where all classes came to be included in culture began in the 1890's, and that it was in the 1950s that Saikaku was canonized as the essence of "Genroku," by way of middle school and high school text books.

Replication of Sites, Historical Continuity and Expropriation

Timon Screech challenged the idea of Kyoto as source, Edo as replica. John Rosenfield (Harvard University) remarked that replication was deeply rooted in historical and religious practices: for example, the cult of Mount Atago in Kyoto a replication of Wu-t'ai Shan in China.

Max Moerman (Barnard College) pointed out that the meaning of "engi " was the interdependence of all things, and always involved forging links with more fundamental sites in India or China. At the same time, these documents had ideological concerns; they were even used as legal documents for land disputes. The logic of engi, and things such as mitate, has deep historical roots.

Allen Hockley remarked that although continuity was important, it is essential to identify breaking points, when the culture supports breaking away from the earlier frame of reference (for example, the shift from Ômi Hakkei to Edo Hakkei).

David Pollack questioned a one-sided concept of appropriation. John Rosenfield added that sometimes it was not always clear what the source was and what the replication was. Timon Screech stressed mutual reflection, the notion that parallel things were constructed in order to reflect.

Max Moerman commented that the top-down model of patronage is very limited. Rather than a unilinear movement, there was a multi-directional circulation of people, resources, and images through pilgrimage.

Style and Politics

Regarding Tessai, John Rosenfield questioned how he could have painted in a Chinese-derived Nanga style and yet associate with compatriots who were pro-Japan, who one would assume to be promoting Yamato-e. Maeda responded by pointing out Tessai's connections with Yamato-e and Shinto, and said that there was really a fusion there. Rosenfield then answered his own question by saying that there was no contradiction, really. There was much interchange between the bunjin, especially in Kyoto, and the imperial movement. Smith added that the Restoration shishi were great collectors of Nanga and steeped in Chinese learning.

Timon Screech noted that Matsudaira Sadanobu was acutely aware of an absence of a contemporary style ("imaga"/"konga") that was suitable for recording the present so that future generations could look back and see the style of the age.

Christine Guth went over the multiple appropriations and stylistic redefinitions of Tessai through the 20th century: he transformed from the quintessential bunjin in the Meiji period to a modern expressionist in the Taisho period, one who defined Nanga painting as we see it today.


This session was designed to raise theoretical issues in discussing strategies of representation and modes of thinking around the stage, bodies, and gender. Christine Guth (Independent Scholar) moderated.


David Pollack (University of Rochester) began with "Urban Design and Stage Design in Edo Japan" and spoke of the complex interpenetration of city/theater/art with the element of perspective, resulting in what we call a "view," but could also be referred to as "omokage" (the mental image). Using Masanobu's 1740's uki-e views of the kabuki stage, or perspectives of the city such as Kuwagata Keisai's 1809 bird's-eye panorama screen painting of the city, e-kanban posters as well as views of the theater, he proposed that visual modes of theatricality infused such views of the city as Hiroshige's famous landscapes.

Timon Screech (SOAS, University of London) spoke on "Unrepresentative Bodies." He proposed that there were different grids or representational dimensions for different bodies in the Edo period. He raised the problem of how western histories of the body were tied up with the development of an interiorized selfhood that results in a binary opposition of body/mind. He suggested another model that would describe the way we negotiate power beyond the self in the way that it rippled outward. The higher the level of power, the greater the spread of self, but also the more control one had over it. Those in power often occluded themselves more: the vulgar had more of a somatic presence while the refined and powerful had less of a bodily presence. He contrasted this with the constant and overt display of the leader in Western art. In general, in the Edo period there was an iconography of absence, or the representation of absence, as in the case of Edo Castle drawn with a cloud obscuring it.

Mara Miller (Agnes Scott College) then spoke on "The Female Gaze in Edo Prints: Western Critical Theory and Japanese Art History". She encouraged Japanese art historians to work in more theoretically informed ways, using the approaches of gender, feminist theory, Lacanian-psychoanalysis, Foucault, and even bits of Heidegger. This would take us out of our little sub-culture, and help correct mistakes. It could provide thinking tools to help rescue Western philosophy, and also rescue the image from the second-class status assigned to it by Western aesthetic theory. For example, the Western model of power, based on the Hegelian notion of a subject who is constituted by virtue over his domination over objects, doesn't apply to shunga . We need to reimagine power relations, constructions of gender/self, the image/text relationship, and the meaning of sight for knowledge. Japan, contrary to all Western theory, has integrated women's voices into their canon for thousands of years.


Representational/Actual Changes of the Stage

Donna Welton (American Federation of Arts) suggested that representation does not necessarily involve the mimetic depiction of reality, and that the construction of the stages might conversely have differed from their print depictions.

Smith answered that at least the Masanobu and Kiyotada large-format theater interiors, which have been extensively analyzed by Kishi Fumihiko in Edo no enkinhô (Keisô Shobô, 1994), were responses to architectual changes in the kabuki theater itself, and were consciously designed to document the architecture. Uki-e as a genre became archaic by the early 19th century; from the Bunka-Bunsei period (and perhaps earlier), there was an increased use of dramatic perspective in stage backdrops.

Perspective and the Subject Position

Mimi Yiengpruksawan (Yale University) asked how the introduction of linear perspective was consistent with the multiple subject positions of an audience that was always milling about. Pollack answered that there seems to have been a gradual shift to an audience seated fixed and facing the stage; thus there was an increase of frontal perspective and a decrease in parallel perspective.

Smith added that there was no mathematical concept of viewpoint in Japanese pictures, and there is no evidence that Japanese systematically understood perspective. Perhaps the stage-views, which were from the view-point of the peanut gallery, were a form of peeping in on what one couldn't afford and showed a new interest in looking.


Various people were intrigued by Screech's idea of the iconography of absence. Yiengpruksawan mentioned, from her work with Buddhism, that since the Buddha is beyond representation, the problem is how to make that absence present. Nicole Rousmaniere noted that no marks are allowed on ceramics ordered by the imperial family. Timon Screech noted that the appellation of those in power was very obscure, at least while they were alive. Leland Smith (Princeton University) mentioned Nobuzane's nise-e portrait of Go-Toba, done with tiny hatch marks as the artist was trying to find the true line, and then deposited inside a statue. He asked how this related. Screech answered that the iconography of absence was all about controlling who saw what, and was very contextual. Smith brought up the changes evident through the process of representing the Meiji emperor, a gradual revelation of his body in prints that was finally transformed into a formal photograph of Chiossone's painting (a process related in Taki Kôji, Tennô no shôzô , Iwanami Shoten, 1988).

Application of Theory

Miller said that in reading theory, she looks to Lacan, Irigaray, and Margaret Whitford on Irigaray [Luce Irigarary: Philosophy in the Feminine ( Routledge, 1991)], but that she has to invert the models, turn them inside out. Yiengpruksawan remarked that in her work on early Buddhist art, she doesn't think that one can dismiss Lacanian analysis since Lacanian notions (as well as those of other post-structuralists) are very close to Buddhist ideas. She credits the translation and general impact of Buddhist texts in Europe. She also challenged the idea that there is a "siege mentality" concerning the use of theory in the field; she hasn't felt obstructed herself.

Smith noted that theory does divide, in more departments than just art history. He sees a main danger is that theory can exceptionalize Japan once more. He pointed out the importance of the national political cultures to function of critical theory among academics, which is very different in France, England, and the U.S. When asked about the situation in Europe, Trede said that she thought there was a cleavage among art historians: those who take theory seriously and those who don't.

John Rosenfield's essay, "Japanese Art Studies in America since 1945" in Helen Hardacre, ed., The Postwar Development of Japanese Studies in the United States (Brill, 1998), was mentioned as an effort to deal with the particular impact of critical theory in the study of art history.

Presence of the Female Voice in Japan

David Pollack acknowledged that as Miller suggested, there was a strong female presence in Japan (Murasaki Shikibu and nuns who pursued lawsuits), but he asked her to clarify what she meant by "women's voices." Miller responded that there was nothing comparable to Murasaki or Ono no Komachi in other cultures, who were in some ways put on the same level as the Virgin Mary. Melanie Trede suggested that perhaps Murasaki and Ono no Komachi were celebrated precisely because there was no figure comparable to the Virgin Mary.


This session dealt with the diversity of "others" in the Edo period. Mimi Yiengpruksawan (Yale University) moderated.


Nicole Rousmaniere (Sainsbury Institute) began by speaking on "Multiple 'Chinas' in the Arts of the Edo Period." In proposing multiple Chinas, she questioned the static concept of the "Other." She also objected to the static reading of objects and appealed for inclusion within the artistic canon. The importance of ceramics is related to their temporal tenacity and objects that are invested with value through use. China, not a simple unitary Other, is a diversity of concepts and relationships. Although porcelain "china" was seen as Chinese from its very inception, it is hard to define what China is in Japan, and what it is not. The images of China on porcelain are taken not just from Chinese porcelain itself, but from from a variety of sources, such as the Hasshu gafu (ca. 1621). What may seem the epitome of Japanese design may be based on Chinese designs. The different Chinas, historical and current, are all a part of a multiplicity of narratives that expand Edo outwards.

Allen Hockley (Dartmouth College) spoke on "Otherness as Ideology in Western-Style Art of the Edo Period." He considered the role of the strategy of displacement in the formation and deployment of ideology among Tokugawa Neo-Confucianists and Rangakusha. Bricolage was another one of these strategies that combined dominant and subculture ideologies in a way that utilized the dominant ideology, but subverted it at the same time. He discussed histories of the West by Yamamura Saisuke (1802) and Satô Nobuhiro (1809) as using the same deep structures as Japanese histories in order to then be contrasted with Japan. He then questioned which deep structures, root metaphors, conventions, and languages might have been deployed to accommodate the foreignness of western-style art and asked whether they constituted an ideological response (displacement, bricolage) to competing discourses.

Robert Eskildsen (Smith College) was last with "Taming the Multiplicity of Others." He began with the question of why Otherness is so difficult to analyze in Edo art. First of all, there is a daunting variety and number of Others. Secondly, the relationship between representations and the political context is hard to pinpoint. Also, the icons have both continuity and partial changes that are hard to explain. The metaphors used in the 19th century make it especially hard. He particularly focused on Jinbutsuzu (attr. 1642) that came from European wall maps as establishing a pattern that had a life of over 200 years with various peaks that somewhat correspond with political events. He noted the metaphorical expansion of Others from the 1840's, as in Kuniyoshi's nishiki-e triptych "Asakusa Okuyama iki-ningyô."


Objects and Use

David Pollack asked Rousmaniere if she perceived of the object as Othered, especially in art history. Are paintings valorized because they are not functional, and objects not because they are used? Rousmaniere replied that its hard to answer simply, that there is indeed a contemporary financial value placed on objects. There was certainly privilege and resonance given to things in their historical context, however. Objects were a part of a different matrix of function, rules, and hierarchies. Pollack brought up the possibility of thinking about ukiyo-e as functioning objects, rather than just pictures in frames.

Timon Screech asked about ceramics that seem to have been more important for their reciprocal presence as exchange value than use. Rousmaniere replied that all ceramics appear to have been at least slightly used although for some their value as gifts was perhaps important as well.

Export Porcelain

When asked by Doris Croissant, Rousmaniere clarified that she had exclusively focused on domestic ware. The difference between domestic and export ware was, in general, very clear.

Dearth of Rangaku Scholarship

Hockley pointed out the scarcity of historiography on the Rangaku school. Sato Nobuhiro is discussed, but primarily his later works. There is a shift in his work towards Kokugaku thought.

Perhaps these narratives came to Japan through China? Emanuel Pastreich's Harvard dissertation discusses the mediation of Korea for narrative structure in Chinese vernacular novels, which were influential in late Edo. There was agreement that Korea shouldn't be ignored.

Hierarchy and Race in Representation

Melanie Trede pointed out that the structure of representation must point to a hierarchical order and asked about the depiction of blacks. Eskildson responded that there were multiple hierarchies, multiple ways of expressing of where Japan fit in the world. Representations of blacks changed over time, becoming a more generic understanding in the early 19th century. Smith pointed out that the Western concept of race was a moving target, and that race became a category in the West only in the early 18th century.

Multiplicity of Others and Centers

John Rosenfield asked if it was possible to think of an area where the difference between wa and kan was blurred, whether there was interpenetration. He perceived a constant slippage back and forth. He suggested that China was so integral to Japanese culture that perhaps we should think of a bi-cultural entity. Barbara Ford (Metropolitan Museum of Art) agreed, and gave many examples of the parallel consciousness of China and Japan within Japan.

Mimi Yiengpruksawan provoked those who throw around "Otherness" to consider the other side of the binary. In relation to the Other, what is the normative or framing position? Is it the frame itself? Eskildsen answered that if there were multiple hierarchies, then there ought to be multiple centers. Hockley observed that often Otherness was layered on other kinds of Otherness, and that the Otherness was always being moved out.



Rosenfield brought up the pressing need for the study of architecture along with art history. Mara Miller said that an interesting question was how architecture structured the body in space and in time. Smith responded that we can't leap frog over what hasn't been done--that basic stylistic and historical issues needed to be dealt with first. Lee Butler spoke up for the consideration of how objects (including paintings) are put inside architecture-- the relationship between the two.

Amanda Stinchecum (Independent Scholar) asked for thoughts on how architecture could be integrated into an exhibition. Hugh Wylie (Royal Ontario Museum) said that models were used at his museum in Toronto, and other models were mentioned. Smith said that much more could be done with computer simulations. Hollis Goodall (LA County Museum of Art) said that the problem with Japanese architecture was that the inseparability of garden, building, and paintings.

Medical Texts

Ann Jannetta (University of Pittsburgh) mentioned her own work on medical texts from Kaitai shinsho to the Bakumatsu period, and her interest in art as a conveyor of knowledge. She views the production and circulation of the texts as a medium that forged new connections between positions in different parts of Japan, from Daimyo to Bakufu. The early ones were handcopied or woodblock illustrated, but by the Bakumatsu period they were written for general readership. Screech mentioned that the Rangakusha repeatedly said that Western medical texts were illustrated and Japanese texts were not.

The Academy/Museum/Dealer Divide

This division was brought up several times during the day. Smith advocated systematically providing dealers with the opportunity to speak in order to share their astonishing funds of knowledge.

Where to go from here?

At the beginning of the day, Smith urged that more conferences be organized, particularly more formal occasions that result in published papers. During the wrap-up, numerous upcoming exhibitions and conferences were announced. (Hopefully we will see more of these on JAHF.) Mara Miller suggested a NEH summer conference on theory and Japanese art history, that hopefully she will pursue.

Roger Keyes suggested an exhibition on the Kansei period with a multi-disciplinary approach, perhaps including some type of movement as well as visual arts. Donna Welton responded by announcing that the American Federation of the Arts where she works is planning a multi-venue Genroku period exhibition. When asked if it would include theater, she said that, indeed, the theme happened to be "theatricality."

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