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Absence, Presence, and Materiality: Refiguring Japanese Religious Art and Culture Online Workshop

Online Workshop - Sainsbury Institute

Friday 8 July, 2022 - Saturday 9 July, 2022

Images have been central to religious practices and lives in Japan. They have been utilized to represent, embody, and manifest divine beings. Yet, as the eminent monk Kūkai commented on Buddhist images, “one may attain Buddhahood at sight of them,” images also have served as foci of religious practices to attain things formless and invisible, such as enlightenment. This workshop examines the roles of absence and presence in Japanese religious art and culture from an interdisciplinary approach. It will gather scholars from the fields of history, architecture, art history, and religious studies to discuss issues related to the topic. How does the partially or completely absent status of images affect their uses, meanings, and relationships with viewers? In what ways do people restore and treat images, objects, and spaces that once existed, but are now lost or in ruins? How do images make the invisible tangible and present? How does the perception of the unseen impact on the production, appearance, display, and utilization of images? While addressing these inquiries, this workshop also seeks to reflect on methodologies of Japanese religious art and culture. It will explore how the absence and presence of research sources shape the historiography of Japanese religious art and culture, and the ways in which images are described, presented, imagined, and understood.

Registration is required for attending the workshop.

Organized by Dr Yen-Yi Chan (Robert and Lisa Sainsbury Fellow  2019-2020 )

Supported by The Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation

 

Programme

 **All listed time is JST.

Friday, July 8, 2022

Morning Session

9:30-9:40 Opening Remarks

9:40-10:40 Panel I: Invisibility and Materiality  

Fabio Rambelli (Professor, University of California Santa Barbara)

Imagining the Music of the Pure Lands: Curating Texts, Images, and Sounds to Create an Absent Soundscape

Akiko Walley (Associate Professor, University of Oregon)

Rendering Absence Visible: Challenges and Potential in Researching Hyakumantō Darani

Chair: Pinyan Zhu (Assistant Professor, Kent State University)

10:50-11:50 Panel II: Remnants and Reconstruction: Architecture

Shimizu Shigeatsu (Professor, Kyoto Institute of Technology)

Methods of Repeated Architectural Reconstruction: Using Ise Shrine, Kintaikyo Bridge and Shoseien Garden as Examples

Ellen Van Goethem (Associate Professor, Kyushu University)

Green-Glazed Roof Tiles and Vermilion Pillars: The Legacy of the 1895 Daigokuden Reconstruction in Kyoto

 Chair: Pinyan Zhu (Assistant Professor, Kent State University)

 11:50-12:20 Overall Discussion and Closing Remarks

Chair: Yen-Yi Chan (Assistant Professor, Fu Jen Catholic University)

 

Saturday, July 9, 2022  

Evening Session

17:00-17:10 Opening Remarks

17:10-18:10: Panel III: Remnants and Reconstruction: Religious Icons   

Fujioka Yutaka (Professor, Osaka University)

The Transmission and Creation of Miraculous Efficacy in the Early Kamakura-Period Reconstruction of Buddhist Statues at Kōfuku-ji Temple

Benedetta Lomi (Lecture, University of Bristol)

The Double Body of Kamatari at Tōnomine: Mapping the Movements of the Inner and Outer Statue

Chair: Ryoko Matsuba (Lecturer in Japanese Digital Arts and Humanities, Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures)

18:20-19:20 Panel IV: Seen and Unseen

Yen-Yi Chan (Assistant Professor, Fu Jen Catholic University)

Revealing the Miraculous: Objects Placed within the Statue of the Kōfukuji Nan’endō Fukūkenjaku Kannon

Tsuda Tetsuei (Professor, Aoyamagakuin University)

Reinterpreting Esoteric Buddhist Sculpture in the Nara Period (8th-century): The Significance of the Inanaki-dō Wooden Batō Kannon Statue at Daian-ji

Chair: Ryoko Matsuba (Lecturer in Japanese Digital Arts and Humanities, Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures)

19:20-19:50 Overall Discussion and Closing Remarks

Chair: Simon Kaner (Executive Director and Head of Centre for Archaeology and Heritage, Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures)

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