The University of Hong Kong Museum Society is pleased to present a tour of Japan from 7th to 15th May, 2016, with Dr. Puay-peng Ho, Professor of Architecture of The Chinese University of Hong Kong. Prof. Puay-peng Ho received his First Class Honours degree in Architecture from the University of Edinburgh and a Ph.D. in Art History from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. His thesis was focused on Buddhist art and architecture of the Tang dynasty. Prof. Ho is a member of the Royal Institute of British Architects and the Society of Architectural Historians. Currently, he serves on Town Planning Board, Antiquities Advisory Board and History Museum Advisory Panel, and is Chairman of the Council of Lord Wilson Heritage Trust. His research interests and publications are in the areas of Chinese art and architectural history, vernacular architecture, and architectural theory. He is also involved in many architecture conservation projects in Hong Kong.
The far north of Japan was the native land of the Emishi 蝦夷 people, descendants of the Jōmon 繩文. Largely a land of abundance with a central mountain range Ōu Mountains 奥羽山脈, it was conquered by the Yamato 大和regime from Central Japan and included in the territory of Japan after some bloody battles between 7th – 9th centuries. Since then, feudal lords ruled over the land with two main provinces: Ōshū 奥州 or Michinoku 陸奥 or 道奥, meaning “End of the Road”, to the east and Ushū 羽州 or Dewa no kuni 出羽国 to the west. Understandably, the religion and practices of this far-flung territory of Japan maintained a balance between the imperial and cosmopolitan school and style of Kyoto, the capital, and the local characteristics. The worship of mountain is one example, and the belief in Pure Land Buddhism is another. Apart from these ancient architecture and practices, many contemporary museums and galleries has sprung up in Tōhoku in the last 15 years. These architecture take advantage of the beautiful landscape and weave architectonic spaces through them with emphasis on light, surface, and space.
The tour will cover both the ancient and the contemporary manifestations of a regional sensitivity that will shed light on the continuum of artistic and architectural practices.
Professor of Architecture, School of Architecture
Director, Centre for Architectural Heritage Research
The Chinese University of Hong Kong