Book written by 1991 Abe Fellow Elizabeth Lillehoj based on her project “Women and Art in Early Modern Japan.”
During the first century of Japan’s early modern era (1580s to 1680s), art and architecture created for the imperial court served as markers of social prestige, testifying to the enduring centrality of the palace to the cultural life of Kyoto. Emperors Go-Yōzei and Go-Mizunoo relied on financial support from ruling warlords—Toyotomi Hideyoshi and the Tokugawa shoguns—just as the warlords sought imperial sanction granting them legitimacy to rule. Taking advantage of this complex but oftentimes strained synergy, Go-Yōzei and Go-Mizunoo (and to an unprecedented exent his empress, Tōfukumon’in) enhanced the heriditary prerogatives of the imperial family.Among the works described in this volume are masterpieces commissioned for the residences and temples of the imperial family, which were painted by artists of the Kano, Tosa and Sumiyoshi ateliers, not to mention Tawaraya Sōtatsu. Anonymous but deluxe painting commissions depicting grand imperial processions are examined in detail. The court’s fascination with calligraphy and tea, arts that flourished in this age, is also discussed in this profusely illustrated volume.