During the early modern period in Japan, peace and prosperity allowed elite and popular arts and culture to flourish in Edo (Tokyo) and Kyoto. The historic first showing outside Japan of Ito Jakuchu's thirty-scroll series titled Colorful Realm of Living Beings (ca. 1757-66) in 2012 prompted a reimagining of artists and art making in this context. These essays give attention to Jakuchu's spectacular series as well as to works by a range of contemporary artists. Selected contributions address issues of professional roles, including copying and imitation, display and memorialization, and makers' identities. Some explore the new form of painting, ukiyo-e, in the context of the urban society that provided its subject matter and audiences; others discuss the spectrum of amateur and professional Edo pottery and interrelationships between painting and other media. Together, they reveal the fluidity and dynamism of artists' identities during a time of great significance in the country's history.
About the Author
Yukio Lippit is professor of history of art and architecture and Johnson-Kulukundis Family Director of the Arts at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University.
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