Art Gallery of Alberta

The Edo Talks: Special In-Gallery Series

Art of the Rulers

Zshin Shibata (1807-1891), Landscape of Kinkazan, nd. Hanging scroll, lacquer on paper. Image courtesy of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

Art of the Rulers: The Kano and Tosa Schools with Professor Walter Davis

December 19th

Tickets
Single Talk: $15/$10 AGA Members      Purchase tickets online >
Talk Series: $30/20 AGA Members        Purchase  series pass online>

In this series of special talks, uncover the life and customs of the people who lived in Edo Japan with experts who discuss the fascinating works on display. The exhibition EDO: Arts of Japan’s Last Shogun Age explores the vast and unique influences that the Edo period (1603-1868) had on arts and culture in Japan.

This talk will focus on art patronized by the military leaders (Shoguns) and the Emperor. During the Edo period, Japan was ruled by the Shoguns, while the Emperor and his family became figureheads with no real power. Over the years, these groups became associated with different schools of artists. The Shoguns patronized the Kano School, whose imported Chinese themes and techniques suited their claims to political and moral authority. The court of the Emperor patronized the Tosa School, whose traditional Japanese themes and approaches expressed the cultural prestige of the court.

Professor Walter Davis is an Assistant Professor in the Departments of Art and Design and East Asian Studies at the University of Alberta. Professor Davis’ recent publications include “Welcoming the Japanese Art World: Wang Yiting’s Social and Artistic Exchanges with Japanese Sinophiles and Artists” in The Role of Japan in Modern Chinese Art (forthcoming).

Life of the Samurai

Momoyama/Edo period (late 16th/early 17th century). Image courtesy of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

Life of the Samurai: Armour, Swords and Images with Professor Mikael Adolphson

Wednesday, November 21, 7 pm

Tickets
Single Talk: $15/$10 AGA Members      Purchase tickets online>
Talk Series: $30/20 AGA Members        Purchase  series pass online>

In this series of special talks, uncover the life and customs of the people who lived in Edo Japan with experts who discuss the fascinating works on display. The exhibition EDO: Arts of Japan’s Last Shogun Age explores the vast and unique influences that the Edo period (1603-1868) had on arts and culture in Japan.

During the Edo period (1600-1868), Japan was ruled by a hereditary class of samurai, who made up about 7 percent of the population. The samurai owed loyalty to their daimyo (warlord), who in turn was under the jurisdiction of the Shogun. Edo Japan was, in other words, a strictly hierarchical society, where the samurai wielded considerable political power regardless of their individual wealth, rank or position. Farmers, merchants and artisans were, by and large, at the mercy of the samurai who could put any disrespectful commoner to death on the spot. The exhibition EDO: Arts of Japan’s Last Shogun Age features numerous images of samurai and also samurai objects, such as swords and elaborate armour.

Mikael Adolphson is a professor in the Department of East Asian Studies at the University of Alberta. His classes include “The Samurai in Japanese Culture,” and he recently published The Teeth and Claws of the Buddha: Monastic Warriors and Sōhei in Japanese History (2007). 

Love and Profit

Hiroshige Ando (1797–1858), Kiyomizu Temple and Shinobazu Pond at Ueno, nd. Woodblock print. Image courtesy of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

Love and Profit: Ukiyo-e, Art for the Merchant Class with exhibition curator Barry Till

Wednesday, December 5, 7 pm

Tickets
Single Talk: $15/$10 AGA Members           Purchase tickets online>
Talk Series: $30/20 AGA Members             Purchase  series pass online>

In this series of special talks, uncover the life and customs of the people who lived in Edo Japan with experts who discuss the fascinating works on display. The exhibition EDO: Arts of Japan’s Last Shogun Age explores the vast and unique influences that the Edo period (1603-1868) had on arts and culture in Japan.

Ukiyo-e prints were an exciting new art form that developed in the Edo period and were primarily sold to merchants. According to exhibition curator Barry Till, “for the first time in Japanese history, the common merchant class brought about a shift in Japanese cultural dynamics…The images wonderfully illustrate the conspicuous consumption by this class, showing their penchants for short-lived trends and fads as well as the human desire for love and profit.”

Barry Till is the exhibition curator and Curator of Asian Art at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, which houses one of the finest Japanese art collections in North America.