Chikubushima: Deploying the Sacred Arts in Momoyama Japan

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University of Washington Press, 2004 - Art - 350 pages
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Chikubushinta, a sacred island north of the ancient capital of Kyoto, attracted the attention of Japan's rulers in the Momoyama period (1568-1615) and became a repository of their art, including a lavish, decorated building dedicated to the world of Benzaiten. In this meticulous and lucid study, Andrew Warsky keenly illustrates how private belief and political ambition influenced artistic production at the intersection of institutional Buddhism and Shinto during this tumultuous period of rapid and radical political, social, and aesthetic change. He offers substantial conclusions not only about this specific site, but also, more, broadly, about the nature of art production in Japan and how perceptions of the sacred shaped the concerns and actions of the secular rulers. The patrons of the island included the dominant political figures of the time: the late sixteenth-century ruler Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1537-1598), who supported numerous projects at the apogee of his power, and his heir Hideyori (1593-1615), as well as their rival and eventual successor to national hegemony, Tokugasva Icyasu (1542-1616). After Hide voshi's death, the Tovototni clan struggled to retain their power and sought new opportunities to position themselves as chief conduits olivine protection and beneficence for the realm. They enacted and signified this role by zealous, indefatigable sponsorship of sacred architecture and its ornament, icons, and rituals. In the early seventeenth century, the Toyoconti clan sponsored a major refurbishing of the Benzaiten Hall on Chikubushima, transporting a lavishly decorated structure from Kyoto to be installed as its core. Enveloped in polychrome paintings by the Kano workshop (theleading painting studio of the period), black-and-gold lacquer, gilt metalwork, and pictorial relief wood carvings, this core is the most complete ensemble of ornament and architecture surviving from the Momoyama period. Wacky has had unique access to the island, and many of the images included here have not previously been published.
  

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Contents

The Material of the Sacred I
143
Hideyoris Enlistment of the Sacred I
197
Notes I
275
Appendix I
309
Bibliography I
323
Illustration Credits I
337
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1996 AAS Abstracts: Japan Session 194
Organizer and Chair: Donald F. mccallum, University of California, Los Angeles Discussant: David Moerman, Stanford University ...
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About the author (2004)

Watsky is Associate Professor of Art History at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York.

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