Amamonzeki - A Hidden Haritage
Amamonzeki – A Hidden Heritage
Treasures of the Japanese Imperial Convents
Patricia Fister et al.
Catalogue from the exhibition held at the University Art Museum,
Tokyo University of the Arts, Ueno Park, Tokyo,
April 14 through June 14, 2009.
9x11 inch softback; 384 pages; full color, fully bilingual English and Japanese
Published by the sponsor, Sankei Sinbun, Tokyo
The exhibition entitled Amamonzeki:
A Hidden Heritage, Treasures of the Japanese Imperial Convents, held from April 14th through June 14th, 2009, was the culmination of more than a decade of research and restoration work carried out in Kyoto and Nara by the Chusei Nihon Kenkyujo directed by Barbara Ruch and with a research team led by chief curator Patricia Fister, and including Monica Bethe, and numerous Japanese professionals.
The fully bilingual catalogue illustrates all 194 exhibited items in full color and includes detailed essays and labels by eleven scholars. It is the first book in any language to give the histories of all 13 remaining Japanese Imperial Buddhist Convents (Amamonzeki jiin) and the biographies of their founding abbesses and later restoration abbesses. These elite women, who lived from the 7th century through the 19th century, are represented by portraits and by a wide range of religious and secular works that they themselves created or that are associated with them. Many of their calligraphies,
paintings and sculptures have never been made public before. New discoveries include religious robes (kesa) belonging to 13th and 14th century abbesses.
Objects related to the daily life of the nuns that reflect their background and continuing participation in court culture include furnishings, beautifully lacquered kitchen and bath tools, dolls presented to them by emperor-fathers, card games, board games, and illustrated scrolls.
The exhibition included a representation of the Zenzaidôji rites held at Hokkeji Imperial Convent and reconstructions of the old altar at Chûgûji Imperial Convent and of the jodan no ma royal reception suite from Reikanji Imperial Convent.
The catalogue can be purchased through Medieval Japanese Studied Institute. (Price￥3,000＋shipping)
For English language inquiries, contact Medieval Japanese Studies Institute for information: email@example.com
EMS shipping is in the neighborhood of ￥3600 for one copy (weights 1500gm)
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Table of Contents
A Hidden Heritage − The Story of an Exhibition by Barbara Ruch
Japan’s Imperial Buddhist Convents: A Brief History by Patricia Fister
I THE RELIGIOUS WORLD
The Lives of Imperial Nuns
Honoring the Convent Founders and Restorers:
Portraits and Treasured
Possessions From Princess to Abbess:
The Life Cycle of Imperial Nuns
Ceremonies, Temple Furnishings, and Objects of Worship
Ritual Calendar of Imperial Convents
Worship Sanctuary: Altars and Their Surroundings
Zen Paintings and Calligraphy by Emperors and Imperial Nuns
Faith in the Bodhisattva Kannon
II PALACE CULTURE
Residential Quarters and Furnishings
The Reception Suite at Reikanji Imperial Convent
Imperial Gifts and Objects Connected with Everyday Life
The Dolls of Imperial Convents
Cultural Education and Pastimes
Imperial Convents as Literary Salons
The Rinkyuji Imperial Tekagami Album
Games and the Education of Princess-Nuns: Incense
Shell-matching, Cards, and Sugoroku
Female Patrons of Imperial Convents
Empress Tofukumon’in and Empress Shoken
Textile Photo Data
Daughters of the Dharma: The Religious and Cultural Pursuits of Four Imperial Nuns by Patricia Fister
Imperial Convents and Buddhist Faith by Manabe Shunsho
Textiles in the Imperial Convents by Monica Bethe
Intertwined Threads: The World of the Enshoji Altar Cloth by Yamakawa Aki
Empress Tofukumon’in and the Imperial Convent by Hanafusa Miki
Interior Wall Paintings in the Reception Suite of Reikanj by Furuta Ryo
Motifs and the Treasures of the Imperial Convents by Yokomizo Hiroko
Map of Convent Locations
List of Works
Critical Acclaim for this publication
“an unexpected gem … one of the most aesthetically pleasing of all the exhibitions this year, and certainly the best researched”
Special to the Japan Times
“The exhibition is revolutionary in that it makes us look completely anew at the extraordinary contribution of the Imperial nuns to Japanese culture. … this magnificent bilingual catalogue … should be in every university library and every scholar of Japan’s library.
… it cannot help but change the way we think about (and teach!) a plethora of subjects."
Kyorin University, Tokyo