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The Bokujinkai—or ‘People of the Ink’—was a group formed in Kyoto in 1952 by five calligraphers, Morita Shiryū, Inoue Yūichi, Eguchi Sōgen, Nakamura Bokushi, and Sekiya Yoshimichi. The avant-garde calligraphy movement they launched aspired to raise calligraphy to the same level of international prominence as abstract painting. To realize this vision, the Bokujinkai established creative collaborations with artists from European Art Informel and American Abstract Expressionism, and soon began sharing exhibition spaces with them in New York, Paris, Tokyo, and beyond. By focusing on this exceptional moment in the history of Japanese calligraphy, I show how the Bokujinkai rerouted the trajectory of global abstract art and attuned foreign audiences to calligraphic visualities and narratives.
Hua Yan (1682-1756) and the Making of the Artist in Early Modern China explores the relationships between the artist, local society, and artistic practice during the Qing dynasty (1644–1911). Arranged as an investigation of the artist Hua Yan’s work at a pivotal moment in eighteenth-century society, this book considers his paintings and poetry in early eighteenth-century Hangzhou, mid-eighteenth-century Yangzhou, and finally their nineteenth-century afterlife in Shanghai. By investigating Hua Yan’s struggle as a marginalized artist—both at his time and in the canon of Chinese art—this study draws attention to the implications of seeing and being seen as an artist in early modern China.
Art and Literature in Pictorial Magazines during Shanghai’s Jazz Age
In Intoxicating Shanghai Paul Bevan explores the work of a number of Chinese modernist figures in the fields of literature and the visual arts, with an emphasis on the literary group the New-sensationists and its equivalents in the Shanghai art world, examining the work of these figures as it appeared in pictorial magazines. It undertakes a detailed examination into the significance of the pictorial magazine as a medium for the dissemination of literature and art during the 1930s. The research locates the work of these artists and writers within the context of wider literary and art production in Shanghai, focusing on art, literature, cinema, music, and dancehall culture, with a specific emphasis on 1934 – ‘The Year of the Magazine’.
Women, Media, and Colonial Modernity in the Interwar Years
The East Asian Modern Girl reports the long-neglected experiences of modern women in East Asia during the interwar period. The edited volume includes original studies on the modern girl in Taiwan, Korea, Manchuria, Japan, Shanghai, and Hong Kong, which reveal differentiated forms of colonial modernity, influences of global media and the struggles of women at the time. The advent of the East Asian modern girl is particularly meaningful for it signifies a separation from traditional Confucian influences and progression toward global media and capitalism, which involves high political and economic tension between the East and West. This book presents geo-historical investigations on the multi-force triggered phenomenon and how it eventually contributed to greater post-war transformations.
A Topography of Public Bronze Statuary in Modern Japan
In his pioneering study, Men in Metal, Sven Saaler examines Japanese public statuary as a central site of historical memory from its beginnings in the Meiji period through the twenty-first century. Saaler shows how the elites of the modern Japanese nation-state went about constructing an iconography of national heroes to serve their agenda of instilling national (and nationalist) thinking into the masses. Based on a wide range of hitherto untapped primary sources, Saaler combines data-driven quantitative analysis and in-depth case studies to identify the categories and historical figures that dominated public space. Men in Metal also explores the agents behind this visualized form of the politics of memory and introduces historiographical controversies surrounding statue-building in modern Japan.
300 Years of Japanese Design
Editor: Vivian Li
The Kimono in Print: 300 Years of Japanese Design will be the first ever publication devoted to examining the kimono as a major source of inspiration, and later vehicle for experimentation, in Japanese print design and culture from the Edo period (1603-1868) to the Meiji period (1868-1912). Print artists, through the wide circulation of prints, have documented the ever-evolving trends in fashion, have popularized certain styles of dress, and have even been known to have designed kimonos. Some famous print designers also were directly involved in the kimono business as designers of kimono pattern books, such as Nishikawa Sukenobu (1671-1751) and Okumura Masanobu (1686-1764). The dialogue between fashion and print is illustrated here by approximately 70 Japanese prints and illustrated books—by Nishikawa Sukenobu, Suzuki Harunobu, Utagawa Kunisada, Kikukawa Eizan, and Kamisaka Sekka, among others. The group of five essays features new research and scholarship by an international group of leading scholars working today at the intersection of the Japanese print and kimono worlds and the social, cultural, and global significances circulated therein.
Narrative, Place, and the Śaiva Imaginary in Early Medieval North India
In Mapping the Pāśupata Landscape: Narrative, Place, and the Śaiva Imaginary in Early Medieval North India, Elizabeth A. Cecil explores the sacred geography of the earliest community of Śiva devotees called the Pāśupatas. This book brings the narrative cartography of the Skandapurāṇa into conversation with physical landscapes, inscriptions, monuments, and icons in order to examine the ways in which Pāśupatas were emplaced in regional landscapes and to emphasize the use of material culture as media through which notions of belonging and identity were expressed. By exploring the ties between the formation of early Pāśupata communities and the locales in which they were embedded, this study reflects critically upon the ways in which community building was coincident with place-making in Early Medieval India.
Gao Xingjian's Theatre of the Tragic
In Dionysus on the Other Shore, Letizia Fusini argues that throughout his early exile years (late 1980s-1990s), Gao Xingjian gradually moved away from Absurdist Drama to develop a dramaturgical system with tragic characteristics. Drawing on a range of contemporary theories of tragedy, this book reconfigures some of the key tropes of Gao’s post-1987 theater as varied articulations of the Dionysian sparagmos mechanism. They are the dismemberment of the dramatic self, the usage of constricted spaces, the divisive nature of gender relations, and the agony of verbal language. Through a text-based analysis of seven plays, the author ultimately aims to show that in Gao’s theater, tragedy is an ongoing and mostly subtextual dynamism generated by an interplay of psychic forces concurrently cohesive and divisive.
In: Dionysus on the Other Shore
In: Dionysus on the Other Shore