April 2023 Message from the Acting Director

Last week in the UK, the clocks went forward an hour hailing the beginning of British Summer Time (BST) and lighter evenings. While the weather remains somewhat overcast here in Norwich, we are hoping for sunnier days as we head closer to the summertime. At the end of March, we bid a very fond farewell to our academic visitor, Professor Tetsuei Tsuda, who has been undertaking research at the Sainsbury Institute over the past year. Tsuda-sensei is a Professor at Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo, and specialises in medieval Buddhist art. He has been an important part of the institute over the last year, having given kuzushiji workshops, written lecture […]

Report on the talk ‘Exemplary women, poets and prints – Untangling a surimono series by Yashima Gakutei’

With great interest and attention, I attended the Sainsbury Institute Third Thursday lecture given on March 16th by Dr Mary Redfern entitled “Exemplary women, poets and prints – Untangling a surimono series by Yashima Gakutei”. Dr Redfern introduced a luxurious surimono series “Framed Paintings of Women for the Katsushika Circle” (葛飾連額面婦人合 Katsushikaren gakumen fujin awase) in the collections of the Chester Beatty Library. The highly ceremonial surimono series is a glamorous example of prints on metallic background initiated by the Katsushika poetry circle. Dr Redfern gave an insight into the difficulties of the dating of surimono prints, where censor’s seals are absent, and instead a deep understanding of the Japanese […]

Conversation: Digitising the British Museum’s Hanging Scroll Collections

From 27th February to 3rd March, the project to digitise the Japanese hanging scroll collections took place at the British Museum under the special guidance of Dr Ryoko Matsuba, Lecturer in Japanese Digital Arts and Humanities. This project, which is relevant to the British Museum’s research project: ‘Making art together in Japan 1780–1880’, was jointly undertaken by the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures (SISJAC) and the Art Research Center, Ritsumeikan University (ARC). In this article, two MA students, Xinyao ​Lu​ (SOAS) and Nanaka Kishi (UEA), who recently participated in the project as research assistants, will review their experiences and insights by answering the given questions. […]

Getting to grips with sword hilts: Digitising the tsuba collection at the British Museum

From the 16–27th of January 2023 the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Art and Cultures (SISJAC) in collaboration with the Art Research Center at Ritsumeikan University (ARC) ran a two-week programme aimed at digitising the British Museum’s extensive tsuba 鍔 (sword guard) collection. Under the leadership of Dr Ryoko Matsuba, Dr Akiko Yano and Dr Rosina Buckland, postgraduate students Liam Head (University of East Anglia), Joseph Bills (University of Cambridge), Bori Ko (SOAS University of London) and Ishibashi Foundation Digital Project Officer Yuhan Ji (SISJAC) assisted in the photography of over 1,200 items. These included over 1,000 tsuba and 200 sword accoutrements including kozuka 小塚 (knife handles), menuki […]