July 2020 Message from the Executive Director

暑中お見舞い申し上げます。Please accept our best wishes for the summer from everyone at the Sainsbury Institute. In Japan, July is the season of the Tanabata festival, marking the ancient Chinese story of the separation of two lovers, the Weaving Princess and the Cow-Herd across the Milky Way. It is also when the rainy season gives way to the heat of summer, a time of transition normally marked in the ancient capital of Kyoto by the Gion Festival – this year taking a digital turn thanks in part to our friends at Ritsumeikan University. This year, of course, everything is different and, as I write, our thoughts are very much with everyone affected […]

The book ‘Japan: Courts and Culture’ has just been published

SISJAC has been working with Royal Collection Trust in a supportive role to help to deliver Royal Collection Trust’s catalogue and future exhibition of Japanese works of art in the Royal Collection. The stunning catalogue was just published in May 2020. Research Director Nicole Coolidge Rousmaniere and I have since 2018 provided research and language support for the project, as well as helping to facilitate a research trip to Japan in 2019. A press launch was held at the Embassy of Japan in London on 11 November 2019. Rachel Peat, the curator for this project, gave a wonderful talk explaining the outline of the exhibition. The catalogue is now available […]

Tobunken – Sainsbury Institute Research Collections Database Project

This month marks seven years of our first-ever collaborative database project with the esteemed Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (also known as Tobunken), for which an agreement was signed on 24 July 2013 at the Sainsbury Institute in Norwich. For the last couple of decades, online databases for academic research have developed rapidly as the internet has become widely available. Only in the last decade, or even a half of it, a vast number of databases in Humanities have been created as technological advances have made it possible, yet it is unknown how many of them are already disused or have even been abandoned. Online databases have established […]

Report for the talk “Online Lecture: The Kōfukuji Nan’endō and Its Buddhist Art: Building a Realm of Death, Memory, and Family”

In the second half of the first millennium CE Japan experienced a florescence of artistic creativity associated with the development of Buddhism. Dr Chan gave us an immersive experience of this richness through examining the art associated with just one building, the Nan’endō, within the temple complex of Kōfukuji in the ancient capital of Nara. This octagonal structure, in translation Southern Round Hall, was first constructed in 813 as a memorial by leading members of the Northern Fujiwara clan, a branch of the socially and politically dominant family during the Heian period (CE 794-1185). The Fujiwara clan earlier founded Kōfukuji as the family temple in 710 and as a centre […]

Treasures of the Library: Lazuline Glass Vase with Translucent Lip

You may be acquainted with the Cortazzi Collections in the Lisa Sainsbury Library, such as old maps, ukiyo-e and antiquarian books, as they are regularly featured in this publication. In addition to these materials, Sir Hugh and Lady Cortazzi have also given three dimensional objects on long term loan. A glass vase created by Hamada Yoshio (1944-2011) is from the collection housed at the Sainsbury Institute.  Many of you might not be familiar with the glass artist Hamada Yoshio, but you might know his father, Hamada Shōji (1894-1978). Hamada Shōji was a renowned ceramic artist in Mashiko1, a Living National Treasure and one of the most important figures in the […]