Dr. Jun Suzuki - National Institute of Japanese Literature
The eighteenth-century book Kōetsu sanjūrokkasen (“The Kōetsu Thirty-Six Immortal Poets”) in the Freer Gallery of Art Library is believed to be the very first poetry book focusing on illustrations rather than text. But was it originally a book? Two other copies of this work (in the New York Public Library and Tenri University Library) were produced in different formats–as a scroll and as a set of loose sheets. Paintings of the Sanjūrokkasen (“The Thirty-Six Immortal Poets”) were traditionally appreciated as framed pictures or as decorations on sliding doors or folding screens. Japanese painting traditionally had a close relationship with screens, and there was a huge demand for painted screens. Consequently, many painting manuals or sample books for painters were produced, and these might have served as an impetus for the development of illustrated books. In this lecture, Dr. Suzuki will explore the relationship between screens and illustrated books in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Please be advised to arrive early for the lecture to use lockers. All Beinecke library visitors are required to store their baggage in lockers to enter the facilities.