Andrew Watsky will be coming to speak at the Seminar in Comparative Medieval Material Culture on Wednesday, February 8, 2012. His talk is entitled “Earth, Metal, Paper, and Silk: Assembling the Ensemble in Sixteenth-Century Japanese Tea.”

Andrew Watsky is Professor of Japanese Art and Archaeology at Princeton University, where he has taught since 2008. He received his B.A. in Art History from Oberlin College and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Princeton University. He has been the recipient of several prestigious fellowships, including the Mellon Fellowship in the Humanities and a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship. Dr. Watsky has lectured and published extensively on Japanese art and tea culture. His most recent book, Chikubushima: Deploying the Sacred Arts in Momoyama Japan (Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press, 2004), was the winner of both the Shimada Prize for distinguished scholarship in the history of East Asian art and the John Whitney Hall Book Prize for an outstanding English language book published on Japan or Korea. He has two projects forthcoming on Japanese visual culture.

From its inception in the fifteenth century through the present day, chanoyu – the tea ceremony – has been a dynamic creative pursuit in Japan, combining performative activity and object-centered display. The lecture will focus on the late sixteenth century, a high point in chanoyu invention, and will use the abundant textual and material period evidence to examine the core chanoyu practice of toriawase, or assemblage. The host of a gathering organized the many requisite objects employed in chanoyu, including tea bowls and jars, kettles, incense containers, and paintings and calligraphies, to create for his guests a unique, one-time assemblage that demonstrated his aesthetic and cultural prowess. As this lecture will show, tea men established well-defined hierarchies for their objects, which emphasized singularity and difference among objects, but also endeavored to make assemblages that, despite the disparate materials of the objects (earth, iron, lacquer, paper, and silk), cohered into ensembles that emphasized visual and conceptual unity.

Light refreshments will be served at 5:45 pm. The presentation will begin at 6:00 pm.

RSVP is required. Please click on the registration link at the bottom of this page or contact [email protected]

PLEASE NOTE that our Lecture Hall can only accommodate a limited number of people, so please come early if you would like to have a seat in the main room. We also have overflow seating available; all registrants who arrive late will be seated in the overflow area.