Chikubushima: Deploying the Sacred Arts in Momoyama Japan by Andrew M. WatskyChikubushima: Deploying the Sacred Arts in Momoyama Japan by Andrew M. Watsky

Chikubushima: Deploying the Sacred Arts in Momoyama Japan

byAndrew M. Watsky

Hardcover | December 1, 2003

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Winner of the 2006 Shimada Prize from the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., and the Metropolitan Center for Far Eastern Art Studies, Kyoto, Japan

Winner of the 2006 John Whitney Hall Book Prize from the Association for Asian Studies

Chikubushima, 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 lavishly decorated building dedicated to the worship of Benzaiten. In this meticulous and lucid study, Andrew Watsky 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 changes. 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, Tokugawa Ieyasu (1542-1616). After Hideyoshi?s death, the Toyotomi clan struggled to retain their power and sought new opportunities to position themselves as chief conduits of divine 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 Toyotomi clan sponsored a major refurbishing of the Benzaiten Hall on Chikubushima, transporting a highly ornamented structure from Kyoto to be installed as its core. Enveloped in polychrome paintings by the Kano workshop (the leading 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. Watsky has had unique access to the island, and many of the images included here have not previously been published.

Andrew M. Watsky is professor of art history at Princeton University.
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Title:Chikubushima: Deploying the Sacred Arts in Momoyama JapanFormat:HardcoverDimensions:368 pages, 10.28 × 7.27 × 1.25 inPublished:December 1, 2003Publisher:University Of Washington PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0295983272

ISBN - 13:9780295983271

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Table of Contents

List of AbbreviationsNote to ReadersPreface: Considering ChikubushimaAcknowledgmentsIntroduction: The Sacred and Momoyama Japan1. Chikubushima, from Its Origins to the Ascendancy of Hideyoshi2. Hideyoshi and the Sacred: Manipulating Convention3. Encoding the Sacred4. The Material of the Sacred5. After Hideyoshi: Hideyori's Enlistment of the Sacred6. Hideyori and Chikubushima's New EnsembleEpilogue: Chikubishima in Post-Toyotomi JapanNotesAppendixBibliographyIllustration CreditsIndex

Editorial Reviews

Winner of the 2006 Shimada Prize from the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., and the Metropolitan Center for Far Eastern Art Studies, Kyoto, JapanWinner of the 2006 John Whitney Hall Book Prize from the Association for Asian StudiesChikubushima, 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 lavishly decorated building dedicated to the worship of Benzaiten. In this meticulous and lucid study, Andrew Watsky 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 changes. 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, Tokugawa Ieyasu (1542-1616). After Hideyoshi?s death, the Toyotomi clan struggled to retain their power and sought new opportunities to position themselves as chief conduits of divine 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 Toyotomi clan sponsored a major refurbishing of the Benzaiten Hall on Chikubushima, transporting a highly ornamented structure from Kyoto to be installed as its core. Enveloped in polychrome paintings by the Kano workshop (the leading 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. Watsky has had unique access to the island, and many of the images included here have not previously been published.This brilliant book..is a lavishly illustrated, luxurious book of prize-worthy beauty. The author and the designer for the Univerisy of Washington Press have turned the reading of highly complex materials into an immensely enjoyable, educational, and essentally visual pastime. - The Art Bulletin