AAS-in-Asia Panel: Medieval Kyoto in East Asia

  AAS-in-Asia Panel

Medieval Kyoto in East Asia: Exploring the nexus of material culture, literature, and performance

24-27 June 2016
Dōshisha University, Kyoto

Panel Participants 
Paul Atkins, University of Washington (USA)

Matthew Stavros, University of Sydney (Australia) (chair)
Akiko Takeuchi, Hosei University (Japan)
Molly Vallor, Meiji Gakuin University (Japan)

Panel Abstract (All abstracts)
Political stability and renewed contact with the continent catalyzed a burst of cultural and religious activity in Japan during the century after about 1380. Based in the imperial capital of Kyoto, successive shoguns of the Ashikaga military regime energetically patronized artists, architects, monks, and performers who together contributed to the creation of a cluster of cultural production that today represents a “high medieval” era. This panel brings together specialists from three continents to examine the material culture, literature, and performing arts of this remarkably efflorescent moment to shed light on Kyoto’s critical place within the East Asian cultural and diplomatic sphere. 

In the sermons of the eminent monk Musō Soseki, Molly Vallor uncovers a deeply political agenda for the construction of the Rinzai Zen monastery of Tenryūji. Paul Atkins further probes the nexus of religion, poetry, and diplomacy in the career of Zekkai Chūshin, a ranking Rinzai cleric, celebrated man of letters, and diplomatic aide to the Ashikaga shogunate. Akiko Takeuchi examines the profile of the semi-legendary Empress Jingu in Zeami’s noh play Hakozaki to identify a delicate compromise between the writer’s impulse to advance the genre’s aesthetic agenda while also satisfying the political concerns of his powerful shogunal patrons. Finally, Matthew Stavros uses textual, pictorial, and archeological evidence to demonstrate that the Kitayama Villa of Ashikaga Yoshimitsu (home of the Golden Pavilion) was a vast temple-palace complex with a plan and architectural infrastructure resembling a Chinese-style imperial capital in miniature. 

Individual Abstracts are accessible here