Sydney Asian Art Series Talks | Marketing Pleasure for Profit – Julie Nelson Davis

9 March, 6.00pm –Sydney Asian Art Series

Marketing Pleasure for Profit: The Mirror of Yoshiwara Beauties, Compared – Julie Nelson Davis

Woodblock print of courtesans by Kitao Shigemasa and Katsukawa Shunshō, from the album The Mirror of Yoshiwara Beauties, Compared, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

The University of Sydney China Studies Centre, The Power Institute and VisAsia is proud to present the first of our Sydney Asian Art Series talks, with a lecture by Professor Julie Nelson Davis. In Marketing Pleasure for Profit, Professor Davis will explore the production of the now famous eighteenth-century Japanese book of ‘performing beauties’ prints, The Mirror of Yoshiwara Beauties, Compared.

Today, The Mirror of Yoshiwara Beauties, Compared is regarded as one of most remarkable printed books of eighteenth-century Japan. Featuring sumptuous illustrations by two leading ukiyo-e artists, Kitao Shigemasa and Katsukawa Shunshō, the book exploited full-color multiple block printing to represent the glamorous ‘beauties’ of the licensed Yoshiwara pleasure district. In her presentation, Professor Davis will discuss the publication as a remarkable collaboration between the publishers, artists, block carvers and printers, to demonstrate how the unnamed patrons of the project are indicated through the book’s representational strategies. By reading the album against guidebooks to the district, as period readers would have, this talk further addresses how images and text operated to replicate and promote the act of connoisseurship of all that is shown in its pages.

Julie Nelson Davis is Professor of the History of Art at the University of Pennsylvania and is currently a Senior Research Fellow at the Freer and Sackler Galleries at the Smithsonian Institution. Davis holds a B.A. from Reed College, studied in Japan as a Monbushô fellow at Gakushûin University and completed her Ph.D at the University of Washington. Davis was a Sainsbury Fellow at the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures, a Weiler Family Fellow and has received a number of other grants in support of her study of early modern Japanese print culture. Davis has published widely on early modern Japanese print culture, and this talk comes from her recent book, Partners in Print: Artistic Collaboration and the Ukiyo-e Market (University of Hawai’i Press, 2015). She is currently guest curator for an upcoming exhibition, Inventing Utamaro: A Japanese Masterpiece Rediscovered at the Freer and Sackler Galleries at the Smithsonian, opening in April 2017 and is the supervisor of the Pulverer Collection of Japanese Illustrated Books online catalogue at the same institution. Her first book, Utamaro and the Spectacle of Beauty, was co-published by Reaktion Books and the University of Hawai’i Press (2007).
Date: 6-7.30pm, Thursday 9 March, 2017

Venue: Charles Perkins Centre Lecture Theatre, Building D17, Johns Hopkins Drive, Camperdown Campus, The University of Sydney

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Sydney Asian Art Series is presented by the University of Sydney China Studies Centre, The Power Institute and VisAsia.

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