Painting Nature for the Nation: Taki Katei and the Challenges to Sinophile Culture in Meiji Japan, Rosina Buckland offers an account of the career of the painter Taki Katei (1830–1901). Drawing on a large body of previously unpublished paintings, collaborative works and book illustrations by this highly successful, yet neglected, figure, Buckland traces how Katei transformed his art and practice based in modes derived from China in order to fulfil the needs of the modern nation-state at large-scale exhibitions and at the imperial court. She provides a rare examination of the vibrant world of Chinese-inspired culture during the 1880s, and the hostility which it faced in the following decade.
Rosina Buckland, Ph.D (Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, 2008) is Senior
Curator for Japanese Collections at the National Museum of Scotland. Her most recent publication is
Shunga: Erotic Art in Japan (2010).
Buckland’s study is extremely comprehensive; she has apparently left no stone unturned throughout Japan and the United Kingdom in tracking down Katei’s extant works, many of which are reproduced in full color and with considerable attention to detail and technique. […] Given Katei’s prominence, this is a significant contribution and makes the book a valuable resource. […] Buckland’s study is accessible and easy to read, enlivened with amusing anecdotes about Katei himself, especially his skill at swordsmanship (e.g. p.45). In making Katei and his works accessible, and in its focus on the role of painting in Meiji nation-building, the study will interest art and cultural historians and non-specialist readers alike.
Robert Tuck in
Japan Review Nr. 28 (2015), pp. 241-243.
Those interested in the history of painting in Meiji-era Japan, the history of Sino-Japanese cultural exchanges, the relationship of art to the nation-state in the modern era, and challenges to the established categories of Japanese art history.