Tang Center Symposia

Friends at a Brushwood Gate

A Symposium on Japanese Art in Honor of Professor Yoshiaki Shimizu

Saturday and Sunday, 18-19 April 2009, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
Helm Auditorium, McCosh 50, Princeton University

Organized by the P.Y. and Kinmay W. Tang Center for East Asian Art and co-sponsored by the Department of Art and Archaeology and the Princeton University Art Museum

symposium Program

This symposium, organized by the Tang Center, will honor Yoshiaki Shimizu, Frederick Marquand Professor of Art and Archaeology, who will retire after more than twenty-five years of teaching at Princeton. Professor Shimizu's graduate students, past and present, will offer papers on their recent research.

preliminary symposium schedule

I. Picturing The Tale of Genji

Among the many hallowed traditions of Japanese literary and visual culture, the texts and pictures associated with The Tale of Genji remain fertile ground for inquiry into the processes of representation, revisualization, and inter-pictoriality, as well as the subtle negotiations between word and image. Taking pictorial works of different historical moment as their focus, in both synchronic and diachronic manners, three papers attend to the recurring meshing of cultures that produced and reproduced Genji texts and images.


Anne Rose Kitagawa, Harvard University Art Museum

Sinéad Kehoe, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Bruce A. Coats, Scripps College

II. Picturing the Natural World

Landscape and flower and bird painting have ancient and pervasive presences within East Asian pictorial traditions, tasked with particular visual, literary, even political aims and subject to near constant intervention and re-conceptualization. These three papers examine and contextualize particular moments of pictorialization in terms of precursors and transformations of established subjects and modes of representing the natural world.


Eva Havlicova, Independent Scholar

Janice Katz, Art Institute of Chicago

Cheeyun Kwon, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco

III. The Body

This panel pairs papers that prompt reconsideration of the body, self, and self-fashioning in the Japanese visual tradition, taking issue with conventional expectations for portrait representation and heretofore limited study of the body's evocative adornments or enclosures.


Andrew M. Watsky, Princeton University

Gennifer Weisenfeld, Duke University

IV. Vision/Practice

The status of the image in religious practice in Japan remains to be explored with greater attention to the peculiarities and contingencies of specific communities and conditions of image making and reception. These papers present studies that address the often changing and polyvalent roles of religious images in medieval and late medieval contexts.


Kevin G. Carr, University of Michigan

Melissa McCormick, Harvard University

V. Combinatory Visual Cultures

The modern categorization and lexicon of art history has tended to obscure the complexly combinatory nature of visual and verbal cultures in East Asia. These papers present case studies that challenge assumed boundaries and divisions and work to uncover the “logic” and cultural ambitions/expressions of assembled or interrelated objects and cultures.


Nicole Fabricand-Person, Independent Scholar

Yukio Lippit, Harvard University

Xiaojin Wu, San Antonio Museum of Art

VI. Vision/History

Recent historiographical and methodological ruminations within the discipline of art history have only recently been joined by writings that consider specifically the art history of Japan. Two papers address the relationship of method and critical position in the study of Japanese painting in relation to diachronic changes taking place in the status and reception.


Hans Thomsen, University of Zurich

Gregory Levine, University of California, Berkeley


Special room block for this symposium: Rooms have been reserved at discount rates on a first-come, first-served basis at the Nassau Inn, at participants' expense. To reserve a room, call the Nassau Inn directly at (800) 862-7728 by 2 February 2009, and ask for the “ARTiculations Symposium, Princeton University” room block or reference number 12224.

Additional hotels and bed-and-breakfasts within a five-mile radius of Princeton University are listed here. We suggest that you make reservations directly with the hostelries as soon as possible.

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