The Politics of Reclusion: Paintineg and Power in Momoyama Japan

University of Hawaii Press, 1997 - 247 sivua
The Chinese themes of the Four Graybeards of Mt. Shang and the Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove figure prominently in the art of Momoyama-period Japan (ca. 1575-1625). Kendall Brown proposes that the dense and multivalent implications of aesthetic reclusion central to these paintings made them appropriate for patrons of all classes - the military, who were presently in power, the aristocracy, who had lost power, and the Buddhist priesthood, who forsook power. These paintings, and their attendant messages, thus serve as dynamic cultural agents that elucidate the fundamental paradigms of early modern Japanese society. Unlike traditional art history studies, which emphasize the style and history of art objects, The Politics of Reclusion sets out to reconstruct the possible historical context for the interpretive reception and use of Chinese hermit themes within a specific period of Japanese art. In emphasizing the political dimension of aesthetic reclusion, it introduces into the field of Japanese art history a discussion of the politics of aesthetics that characterizes recent work in the field of Japanese literature.
By embedding the paintings within the contexts of politics, philosophy, religion, and even gender, this study restores the reflexive relations between the paintings and their culture and, as such, is one of the first extensive intellectual and social histories of Japanese art in a Western language. It is one that will appeal not only to students of art but to those interested in Japanese literature, history, and philosophy.

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Sivu 39 - ... prospers and what is rejected. The recluse of old imbued his heart with the Buddha's Law and set aside the myriad matters of the world, while in the present age men abandon the Buddha's Law but do not neglect worldly fame and profit. Under such circumstances they only bear the name of "recluse" (tonsei), but do not know its reality.
Sivu 180 - One of the most persistent but elusive ways that people make sense of themselves is to show themselves to themselves, through multiple forms: by telling themselves stories; by dramatizing claims in rituals and other collective enactments; by rendering visible actual and desired truths about themselves and the significance of their existence in imaginative and performative productions.
Sivu 43 - The pleasantest of all diversions is to sit alone under the lamp, a book spread out before you, and to make friends with people of a distant past you have never known.
Sivu 64 - Turner's description of the experience of the ritual initiand, who "is structurally if not physically invisible in terms of his culture's standard definitions and classifications. He has been divested of the outward attributes of structural position, set aside from the main arenas of social life in a seclusion lodge or camp, and reduced to an equality with his fellow intiands regardless of their pre-ritual status
Sivu 53 - For those who controlled the government, literary or artistic discourse on the aesthete-recluse could represent a perfect alternative social order, the endorsement of which demonstrated the righteousness of their rule. For those on the periphery of political power, the same verbal or visual image might posit the ideal world of the aesthete-recluse as an implicit criticism of the normative political order.
Sivu 45 - I do not prescribe my way of life to men enjoying happiness and wealth, but have related my experiences merely to show the differences between my former and present life. Ever since I fled the world and became a priest, I have known neither hatred nor fear. I leave my span of days for Heaven to determine, neither clinging to life nor begrudging its end. My body is like...
Sivu 33 - It was pointed out, however, that in foreign countries statesmen who in time of civil disorder have withdrawn to deep mountain retreats have thought it no shame, despite their white beards, to be of service once peace has been restored. Indeed they have been revered as the true saints and sages [hijiri].

Tietoja kirjoittajasta (1997)

Kendall Brown is assistant professor of Asian art history at the University of Southern California.

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