This talk will consider the celebrated style of Japanese art known as Rinpa (or Rimpa) taken by many as one of the most representative of the Edo Period (1603-1868). The themes are various, but depictions of the old court classics are to the fore. Other schools were already painting those themes. How did Rinpa differ, and what were the political and aesthetic reasons for that difference?
Guest speaker, Professor Timon Screech was born in Birmingham, UK, and received a BA (Hons.) in Oriental Studies (Japanese) at Oxford, before completing his Ph.D at Harvard in 1991. He also studied at the universities of Geneva and Gakushuin. He has taught the history of Japanese art at SOAS, University of London, since 1991, and in 2006 was elected to Chair in the History of Art. He is concurrently Permanent Visiting Professor at Tama Art University, Tokyo.
Screech is the author of some ten books on the visual culture of the Edo period. His Ph.D was published as "The Lens Within the Heart: the Western Scientific Gaze and Popular Imagery in Later Edo Japan" (CUP 1996) and is still in print in a second edition (Curzon, 2002). Perhaps his best-known work is "Sex and the Floating World: Erotic Imagery in Japan, 1720-1810" (Reaktion, 1999; second, expanded edition, 2009). Most recently, he has introduced and edited the writings of two 18th century travellers to Japan, "Japan Extolled and Decried: Carl Peter Thunberg and Japan, 1775-1796" (Routledge, 2005), and "Secret Memoirs of the Shoguns. Isaac Titsingh and Japan, 1779-1822" (Routledge, 2006). His writings have been translated into French, Japanese, Korean, Polish and Romanian.