Kyoto Visual Culture in the Early Edo and Meiji Periods: The arts of reinvention

Routledge
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The city of Kyoto has undergone radical shifts in its significance as a political and cultural center, as a hub of the national bureaucracy, as a symbolic and religious center, and as a site for the production and display of art. However, the field of Japanese history and culture lacks a book that considers Kyoto on its own terms as a historic city with a changing identity.

Examining cultural production in the city of Kyoto in two periods of political transition, this book promises to be a major step forward in advancing our knowledge of Kyoto’s history and culture. Its chapters focus on two periods in Kyoto’s history in which the old capital was politically marginalized: the early Edo period, when the center of power shifted from the old imperial capital to the new warriors’ capital of Edo; and the Meiji period, when the imperial court itself was moved to the new modern center of Tokyo. The contributors argue that in both periods the response of Kyoto elites—emperors, courtiers, tea masters, municipal leaders, monks, and merchants—was artistic production and cultural revival.

As an artistic, cultural and historical study of Japan's most important historic city, this book will be invaluable to students and scholars of Japanese history, Asian history, the Edo and Meiji periods, art history, visual culture and cultural history.

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About the author

Morgan Pitelka is a Professor of Asian Studies and Director of the Carolina Asia Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA. His publications include Spectacular Accumulation: Material Culture, Tokugawa Ieyasu, and Samurai Sociability (2015).

Alice Y. Tseng

is an Associate Professor of History of Art and Architecture at Boston University, USA. Her publications include The Imperial Museums of Meiji Japan: Architecture and the Art of the Nation (2008).
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Additional Information

Publisher
Routledge
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Published on
May 20, 2016
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Pages
188
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ISBN
9781317286899
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Language
English
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Genres
Art / Asian / General
Art / History / General
History / Asia / Japan
Social Science / Ethnic Studies / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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In Spectacular Accumulation, Morgan Pitelka investigates the significance of material culture and sociability in late sixteenth-century Japan, focusing in particular on the career and afterlife of Tokugawa Ieyasu (1543–1616), the founder of the Tokugawa shogunate. The story of Ieyasu illustrates the close ties between people, things, and politics and offers us insight into the role of material culture in the shift from medieval to early modern Japan and in shaping our knowledge of history.

This innovative and eloquent history of a transitional age in Japan reframes the relationship between culture and politics. Like the collection of meibutsu, or "famous objects," exchanging hostages, collecting heads, and commanding massive armies were part of a strategy Pitelka calls "spectacular accumulation," which profoundly affected the creation and character of Japan's early modern polity. Pitelka uses the notion of spectacular accumulation to contextualize the acquisition of "art" within a larger complex of practices aimed at establishing governmental authority, demonstrating military dominance, reifying hierarchy, and advertising wealth. He avoids the artificial distinction between cultural history and political history, arguing that the famed cultural efflorescence of these years was not subsidiary to the landscape of political conflict, but constitutive of it. Employing a wide range of thoroughly researched visual and material evidence, including letters, diaries, historical chronicles, and art, Pitelka links the increasing violence of civil and international war to the increasing importance of samurai social rituals and cultural practices. Moving from the Ashikaga palaces of Kyoto to the tea utensil collections of Ieyasu, from the exchange of military hostages to the gift-giving rituals of Oda Nobunaga and Toyotomi Hideyoshi, Spectacular Accumulation traces Japanese military rulers' power plays over famous artworks as well as objectified human bodies.
"I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Whether used as a reference or a beautiful keepsake, it's a very worthy addition to the world of Mah Jongg." —Ruth Unger, President, National Mah Jongg League

This is the first book to fully capture the story of the exotic and exciting game of Mahjong or "Mah Jongg", offering an intimate look at the history of the game as well as the visual beauty of the tiles. When authors Ann Israel and Gregg Swain began playing Mahjong, they were unaware of the vintage collections that existed not only in the United States but also across the globe. Slowly, they started to collect their own sets of Mahjong and as their collections grew, so did their appreciation of the history of, and interest in, the game.

Finding few references, Israel and Swain set out to create a book that chronicles the early beginnings of the game and documents Mahjong sets from the most basic, made simply of paper, to the most precious materials such as ivory and mother-of-pearl. Recognized and respected scholars and game experts have collaborated with Israel and Swain, contributing important chapters on the game's history and its pieces as well as technical information on the tiles. Lastly, great collectors from around the globe have shared their incredible sets and memories for the first time in one book for everyone to enjoy.

With hundreds of beautiful new images by renowned photographer Michel Arnaud, and including historical documentation and ephemera, Mah Jongg: The Art of the Game fills the void between the past's and today's game, providing vision, inspiration and resources. Anyone who has ever been intrigued by a Mahjong tile will find in these pages visually stunning photographs that will entice them into becoming an enthusiast of the timeless game of Mahjong.
In Spectacular Accumulation, Morgan Pitelka investigates the significance of material culture and sociability in late sixteenth-century Japan, focusing in particular on the career and afterlife of Tokugawa Ieyasu (1543–1616), the founder of the Tokugawa shogunate. The story of Ieyasu illustrates the close ties between people, things, and politics and offers us insight into the role of material culture in the shift from medieval to early modern Japan and in shaping our knowledge of history.

This innovative and eloquent history of a transitional age in Japan reframes the relationship between culture and politics. Like the collection of meibutsu, or "famous objects," exchanging hostages, collecting heads, and commanding massive armies were part of a strategy Pitelka calls "spectacular accumulation," which profoundly affected the creation and character of Japan's early modern polity. Pitelka uses the notion of spectacular accumulation to contextualize the acquisition of "art" within a larger complex of practices aimed at establishing governmental authority, demonstrating military dominance, reifying hierarchy, and advertising wealth. He avoids the artificial distinction between cultural history and political history, arguing that the famed cultural efflorescence of these years was not subsidiary to the landscape of political conflict, but constitutive of it. Employing a wide range of thoroughly researched visual and material evidence, including letters, diaries, historical chronicles, and art, Pitelka links the increasing violence of civil and international war to the increasing importance of samurai social rituals and cultural practices. Moving from the Ashikaga palaces of Kyoto to the tea utensil collections of Ieyasu, from the exchange of military hostages to the gift-giving rituals of Oda Nobunaga and Toyotomi Hideyoshi, Spectacular Accumulation traces Japanese military rulers' power plays over famous artworks as well as objectified human bodies.
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