Lacquer in a World Context
Taking advantage of the Art Gallery’s recent acquisition of a ca. 1600 lacquered namban writing cabinet and the accessibility of collections from the Art Gallery and the Peabody Museum on West Campus, this seminar offers students a global perspective on lacquer. The use of plant-based materials to provide a durable and decorative surface on wood has a long history, but different cultures drew on different types of materials and different techniques of application, and as a result developed their own aesthetic. This course draws on firsthand examination of and readings on East Asian, South Asian, Anglo-Dutch-American, and New Spain examples to understand the way in which the language of lacquer was shared throughout the world during the age of expansion from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century.