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主講人：Prof. Chelsea Foxwell(University of Chicago: Associate Professor, Department of Art History)
From the late 1700s onward, Japan saw the dawn of an information age in response to urbanization, commercial printing, and the encouragement of foreign books and learning by the shogun Yoshimune (in office 1716–45). This presentation explores the impact of this eighteenth-century information age on visual art, distinguishing new developments from earlier forms of Japanese art-historical consciousness found primarily in the Kano school.
Printed seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Chinese painting albums and manuals arrived in Japan shortly after their issuance, but hurdles concerning social status (mibun 身分) and the protection of proprietary technical know-how presented challenges to issuing similar books in Japan. Despite these hurdles, woodblock-printed compendia of famous Japanese and Chinese paintings began to emerge in the Osaka-Kyoto region in the early eighteenth century. By the early nineteenth century, such gafu 画譜 were widely available.
Images of agricultural labor and craft production provide insights into in the early history of Japanese gafu. Beginning with the ehon 絵本 (model picture books) of Hishikawa Moronobu 菱川師宣 and the image compendia of Tachibana Morikuni 橘守国, I suggest that depictions of laboring bodies played an important role in the history of Japan’s reproductive prints. Images of rice cultivation and other trades had practical use and appealed to Confucian values and Chinese examples. But in a less obvious way, depictions of industrious professionals in a peaceful society also referenced the profession of the painter at a time when the painter’s role and social status were in flux.
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