Dr. Nicole Rousmaniere - Director of the Sainsbury Institute, 2nd year of secondment at the British Museum
The Council is pleased to present the 13th Annual John W. Hall Lecture in Japanese Studies. Dining utensils not only mirror what the diner feels about him or herself, but also can reveal the image that he or she wishes to project to the community at large. These utensils leave tantalizing traces in archaeological, documentary, art historical and trade records. Recently in Japan unprecedented amounts of Chinese porcelain has been excavated in numerous medieval and early modern sites allowing for a reappraisal of the meaning and role of Chinese porcelain. In the first half of the 17th century, Japan started to produce its own porcelain and by the end of the century dominated the world market, a position that it subsequently lost in the 18th century. This lecture focuses on the consumption and meaning of Chinese porcelain in late medieval and early modern Japan and its relationship with Japanese porcelain that eventually replaced it. Chinese and Japanese porcelain can be seen as ‘vessels of influence’ through their use not just in dining and as important items of trade, but also as vehicles for the retelling of national histories and of cultural identity.
Nicole Coolidge Rousmaniere is the Research Director of the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures in Norwich, England. She received her PhD from Harvard University in 1998. She has taught at various institutions, such as University of East Anglia and SOAS and recently was a Visiting Professor at the University of Tokyo. Her research interests include early modern to contemporary ceramics in East Asia and trade networks, the history of archaeology and collecting of Japan objects in Asia and in Europe, Japanese contemporary craft expression and manga. She is currently seconded to the British Museum as a curator in the Department of Asia working on their extensive ceramic collection and completing a publication on the history of the Japanese porcelain industry.