AAS Annual Meeting

Interarea/Border-Crossing Session 590

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Session 590: Art Histories

Mirrors of sovereignty. The portraits of chinese emperors in Early Qing Dinasty
Rui O. Lopes, Independent Scholar, Portugal

During the period known as the Prosperous Era of Kangxi and Qianlong, the Qing Dynasty was one of the most powerful periods of Imperial China. The reigns of Kangxi, Yongzheng and Qianlong became a milestone in Chinese history and artistic culture inside imperial court. The prosperity and peace experienced by the three kings opened a wide window over a confluence of artistic styles with other cultures, interchanging knowledge and technology that resulted in a splendorous period. The imperial portrait painting was the mirror of imperial power, depicting the emperor as private individual either at leisure, in pursuit of the spiritual in the mountains or as a scholar writing or playing an instrument under a tree. In different periods of time, Emperor Yongzheng and Qianlong used the techniques of painting to reinforce their dynastic succession and political power. The famous Ancestral portrait of Kangxi Emperor in court dress was hung, eight months after his death, in the Hall of Sovereign Longevity, erected by Yongzheng Emperor for his father and later renovated by Qianlong. Years later, Qianlong ordered Spring’s peaceful message, painted by Castiglione, which depicts Qianlong as a young prince with his father Yongzheng. Both of these paintings, in different ways, were used to show the straight relation with their predecessor and as a legitimacy of their imperial position. The focus of this presentation will be on the new perspectives of the emperor over imperial portrait and the legitimacy of power, considering the introduction of European painting techniques and aesthetics.

The Goan uniqueness in retable art: how the local artisans shaped the religious art brought by the Portuguese.
Monica Reis, Independent Scholar, Portugal

The undergoing research in retable art in India as unveiled its uniqueness as we placed our attention in the features that allows us to identify the artisans and the workshops of this art made during the 17th and 18th century in India. It was from that moment that it was possible to start identifying main and subsidiary influences in some of the details engraved in its architecture, and place Goa in a spotlight position when compared with the other territories of the former Portuguese India such as Daman, Diu, Bassein and Bombay. Those particular features in the retable art place Goa not only a spotlight position but also reveals Goa as a art maker and innovator, either by the particular interpretation of the retable art brought from Portugal or by the inclusion of artistic elements known for centuries in its inner culture.

Art traffic between China and the Netherlands: The circulation of Chinese export painting between 1800 and 1860
Rosalien Van der Poel, Leiden University, Netherlands

In the Netherlands of the nineteenth century, export paintings from China, amongst other collectibles, found a ready market as export commodities. This flow of exchange reached a record level during this period. What does this reveal about the local (Dutch) and international art markets at this particular time? The expansion of Dutch trade with China went hand in hand with the new ideas about collecting and selling works of art from unknown countries. The results of this practice are visible in the joint collections of Chinese export paintings in Dutch museum collections. This paper provides in two case studies on Chinese export paintings in the collection of Museum Volkenkunde in Leiden, the Netherlands. It explores the fabric of relations of the design, manufacture, export and consumption of paintings from China to the Netherlands between 1800 and 1860. This time-specific study explores the market mechanism of the extensive circulation of paintings at the time the market for export paintings reached its zenith at the Chinese port city of Canton, until this trade ceased to exist around 1860. From an interdisciplinary perspective along cross-cultural lines of production, distribution, function and reception, this research argues that these hybrid art works are active players in a network relating material goods, human practices and current ideas and concepts. By using the provenance of these Chinese export paintings in this meaningful way we can give a different perspective on this phenomenon and generate a new outlook that could not be presented previously.

The Concept of "Momoyama Art” Within Japanese Art History During the First Decade of the 1900’s
Daniel Sastre de la Vega, Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, Spain

In today's categorization of Japanese art history there is a classification known as “Momoyama art” placed between Muromachi period and Edo period art styles. However, this classification was loose in the beginning. Being influenced by chronological divisions of history, art studies during the Meiji and Taisho periods opted for other labels, such as Toyotomi-shi kanpaku jidai (Tycoon Toyotomi Period) or Oda-Toyotomi Period. The catalogue for the Universal Exhibition of 1900 in Paris, a source considered by specialists to be the first official monograph on Japanese art history, classified artworks produced in the second half of the 16th century under “Tycoon Toyotomi Period”, a standard term already established in historical accounts. The term “Momoyama” only appeared as a classification of era in a brief account in the section on architecture. In contrast to this, several contemporary accounts on Japanese art history began to adopt the term “Momoyama” when referring to all artistic works produced during the period in question. The first ten years of the 1900’s were a period when Japan was fully developing the science of art history following its structures imported from the west, with Japanese scholars attempting to create a systematic structure of Japan’s own art history. This paper will examine the making of the characteristic and rather specific concept of “Momoyama Art” within the Japanese art history narrative found in Japanese media that specialized in art history during those years. Art-related monographs and magazines in Japan from this period will be analyzed to trace the development of the term “Momoyama Art”.

Hokusai's articulation of pictorial space: A creative combination of various traditions
Endre E. Kadar, Independent Scholar, United Kingdom

Hokusai (1760-1849), perhaps the best-known Japanese painter in the West, has developed a unique style by mixing various artistic traditions. In Japan, Hokusai is often referred to as a “simple ukiyo-e craftman” (Inaga, 2003) but he became famous and highly regarded in the West. Nevertheless, his art is still not fully appreciated partly because it is not well understood. For instance, Hokusai’s articulation of pictorial space, including his unique interpretation of Western style linear perspective, is highly controversial. Some argued that Hokusai never really mastered linear perspective (Lane, 1989; Swann, 1959). In contrast, two recent publications have demonstrated Hokusai’s profound understanding of various traditions of creating pictorial space. Bell (2007) provided a comprehensive overview of Hokusai’s articulation of pictorial space including the use of various aspects of linear perspective. Kadar and Effken (2008) have argued that mixing Chinese and linear perspectives within one composition is neither a strange eclecticism nor a trivial mistake. Hokusai’s intention was to create a dynamic effect anticipating some of Cezanne’s insights into landscape painting several decades later. The current study presents further evidence by demonstrating how the combination of various perspectives could also give rise to inverse perspective providing new insights into the old problem of dynamic effect of icon paintings. Contrary to other claims (Inaga, 2003), these findings strongly suggest that Hokusai was a great Japanese artist, an excellent representative of the assimilative and creative culture of Japan.