Art History by Other Means: Fragmentary Assemblages in Modern Japan
PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS JAPAN FORUM IS IN-PERSON ONLY.
This talk will argue that the Japan genre known as tekagami—assemblages of “old inscriptions” (kohitsu) in album format—represents a sort of architecture of art history, a way of telling the history of art not through words but with them. Structuring such albums are competing rhetorical claims: the aura of the relic, the materiality of the specimen, the history of form, and the authority of the exemplar. Such albums represent an arena in which one can discern the workings of a type of art-historical thinking that is sometimes only recognized in narrative, discursive media. Throughout the talk, we will be attentive to the media archaeology, so to speak, or the ways in which this early modern format prefigures many twentieth- and twenty-first-century rubrics of preservation and display.
Reischauer Institute Japan Forum co-sponsored by the East Asian Art Program at Harvard University