[KS] Percival Lowell and Collecting
hyungpai at eastasian.ucsb.edu
Wed Apr 22 13:33:37 EDT 2015
Dear Maya, Jonathan, Martina and others,
Yes, the elite in Tokugawa Japan also collected along the lines of the same kinds of objects such as 금석문, bronzes, unusual looking stones and jades ( kiseki), calligraphy, seals and the collectors esp in Kyoto got together to circulate their catalogues and show off their collections.
But, what was more interesting is about the same time of the rise of Antiquarian movement in Europe around the late 18th century, there were some collectors who went out sketching and mapping ruins, steles, haniwa and tombs
( which became the target of grave robbers)- though we have not established the connection with Dutch in Nagasaki such as von Siebold. However, it is important to note, that like the Choson elite, there was no sense of prehistory or archaeology in the modern sense of the word.They also devised their own typological and classification schemes for stone tools etc, -which still remain in Japanese archaeological terminology.
As far as I know, there was no centralized storage or exhibition system in Japan till the early 1880s’ when advisors to the Meiji govt who had seen public museums like the Smithsonian in the 1860s returned from the missions abroad and recommended that the Japanese state take- over Shoso-in temple possessions and list them in a national inventory. The Nara Imperial Museum opened the same year.
In 1882-3, Ernest Fenollosa, W.S. Bigelow, Okakaru Tenshin 1882 was sent by Ito Hirobumi on a national survey of monuments. During this survey, they collected on the side, Fenollosa’s Japanese paintings collections are now at the MFA and Edward Morses’ collections are at the Salem Peabody Museum that Ed mentioned earlier. I think Laurel has seen the Korean collections there but I have not.
In 1897, the first Japanese national treasure to be registered was the Paekche Kwannum at Horyuji again propagating the tastes of established connoisseurs such as Fenollosa and Okakura. The Meiji state bureaucrats such as Ito promulgated these laws since they were worried that the monks who lost their power and wealth were selling their sacred temple treasures to antiquity dealers and thus they were leaving the country and heading off to the capitals of Europe. Ironically, when Ito came to Korea, he became one of the most notorious collectors of Korean celadonware inspiring many imitators.
Sorry for the self-promotion, but I have addressed this shared Meiji legacy with Korea in chapters 3-4 of my book, “Heritage Management in Korea and Japan.” (2013, Washing U press)
Hyung Il Pai
Professor, East Asian Languages and Cultural Studies
HSSB Building, University of California, Santa Barbara
CA 93106. U.S.A.
Email: hyungpai at eastasian.ucsb.edu
Dept Home-page profile: http://www.eastasian.ucsb.edu/home/faculty/hyung-il-pai/
On Apr 22, 2015, at 6:33 AM, Best, Jonathan <jbest at wesleyan.edu> wrote:
> Sincere thanks to Martina. Clearly the Chosŏn elite not only collected but preserved things important to their Neo-Confucianesque construction of their social identity. As such, may I assume now that their practice had a parallel in Ming and Ch'ing China? If so, then it would seem that there exists an intriguing contrast between the seemingly more restricted range of things that members of the Korean elite, and possibly the Chinese elite as well, typically chose to preserve on one side and the seemingly the rather broader range of things that members of the Japanese elite chose to preserve—presumably also reflective of their sense of social identity—on the other. There's probably an interesting dissertation topic or two somewhere in all this.
> From: Koreanstudies [koreanstudies-bounces at koreanstudies.com] on behalf of Martina Deuchler [martina.deuchler at sunrise.ch]
> Sent: Wednesday, April 22, 2015 4:34 AM
> To: Korean Studies Discussion List
> Subject: Re: [KS] Percival Lowell
> Dear List Members,
> The elite did indeed collect--not necessarily art (in the widest sense), but items related to their ancestors, such as ancestral portraits, writings (munjip), calligraphy and paintings, genealogies, examination certificates, written documents of all kinds (so-called komunso), official attires and personal items, etc. Such family treasures were typically preserved in the domestic ancestral shrines or in special containers stored in the taech'ong, tarak, or sadang.
> In recent times, elite families have constructed their own store houses, such as the Unjanggak (containing items pertaining to Kim Song-il) in Kumgye or the Yongmogak (containing items pertaining to Yu Song-nyong) in Hahoe.
> Thanks to the dedication of the descendants of famous and less famous ancestors, thousands of komunso have been preserved (despite the wars) and are now being published by the Academy of Korean Studies. These documents constitute an invaluable source of historical knowledge.
> Martina Deuchler
> Prof. Dr. Martina Deuchler, FBA
> Schoorenstr. 48
> CH-8802 Kilchberg ZH
> Tel. +41-(0)43-377 53 31
> martina.deuchler at sunrise.ch
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