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Exemplary women, poets and prints – Untangling a surimono series by Yashima Gakutei

Third Thursday lecture - Sainsbury Institute

木曜日 16 3月, 2023
6:00pm GMT - 7:00pm GMT


Online lecture, via Zoom.
50 min lecture followed by Q&A.
Free and open to all, booking essential.
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Dr Mary Redfern (Curator of the East Asian Collection, Chester Beatty Library)

About the Talk

The surimono prints prepared for poetry circles of Edo-period Japan weave together myriad threads of poetry, art, shared knowledge and community. The dazzling surimono series, Framed Paintings of Women for the Katsushika Circle (Katsushikaren gakumen fujin awase), designed by artist Yashima Gakutei around 1822 is no exception in this regard. Prints in this series layer medium, image and text with representations of gender and signifiers of identity. Taking as its focus the milieus of exemplary women (retsujo) and contributing kyōka poets framed within Gakutei’s rich compositions, this talk will also consider the wider settings to which these groups belonged.

About the Speaker

Mary Redfern, Ph.D, is Curator of East Asian Collections at the Chester Beatty, Dublin. Dr Redfern worked with East Asian collections at the National Museum of Scotland and the Victoria and Albert Museum, before completing her PhD at University of East Anglia in 2015 on the tableware used by Japan’s Meiji Emperor. Her publications include Art of Friendship: Japanese Surimono Prints and Tennō no dainingu hōru (Emperor’s Dining Hall) written with Yamazaki Taisuke and Imaizumi Yoshiko. Most recently, she curated the exhibition Edo in Colour: Prints from Japan’s Metropolis, held at the Chester Beatty in 2021.

Image: ‘Sotoori hime’ from the series Framed Paintings of Women for the Katsushika Circle, Yashima Gakutei, Japan, c. 1822. CBL J 2055. © The Trustees of the Chester Beatty Library, Dublin.

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The Third Thursday Lecture series is funded by the Gatsby Charitable Foundation, the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation and Yakult UK.