Session Abstract: The story of Japanese art has long been told through the adoption, appropriation, and influence of outside cultural models—a narrative partially enabled by the framework of the nation-state. This panel focuses on premodern figures, themes, and models that came and went from the archipelago and owe much of their historical memory to later Japanese reception. Through trans-historical and trans-regional approaches, panelists offer holistic and nuanced considerations for how and why these phenomena were produced, carried across space and time, and developed meaning in different historical contexts. Through the example of visiting Chinese Chan priest Yishan Yining (1247–1317) and his calligraphic activities in Japan, Du explores the historical imagination surrounding Yishan Yining and his association with early Japanese Zen ink paintings. Wu examines the early Chinese cultural contexts of the “Eight Views of Xiaoxiang” in an effort to shed new light on the immediate and widespread reception of the ink painting theme in Muromachi-period Japan (1336–1573). Bennett analyzes how the monk-painter Sesshū Tōyō (1420–1506) transformed Chinese pictorial models to fashion a new visual vocabulary in Muromachi Japan. By approaching visiting Chinese painter Shen Nanpin (1682–1760?) as a later constructed “phenomenon,” Karyadi uses his attributed works as a site to rethink the intricacies of early-modern Sino-Japanese exchange. These projects all interrogate larger dynamics of inter-change deceptively contained within the name of a singular painter, calligrapher, or theme, thereby expanding the boundaries of “Japanese” art history.
Paper Presenter: Steffani M. Bennett – Harvard University
Paper Presenter: Xiaohan Du – Columbia University
Paper Presenter: Caitlin Karyadi – Princeton University
Paper Presenter: Xiaoxiao Wu – Tokyo National Museum