2017 Franklin D. Murphy Lecturer: Dr. Christine Guth

"Wit & Wisdom in a Japanese Teabowl"
Saturday, February 4, 2017 @2:00pm
Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Atkins Auditorium

The tea ceremony is widely appreciated for its social and aesthetic values, but scholars tend to ignore the important role it has also played in the creation of knowledge. The focus of this presentation is a lacquer teabowl made by Ogawa Haritsu (aka Ritsuō; 1663-1747), an artist celebrated for his innovative and imaginative use of materials. It asks why the bowl was made of lacquer rather than ceramics, and what messages the experience of handling it conveyed to its users. Dr. Guth proposes that Ritsuō’s choice of material expressed an engagement with fashionable socio-cultural and intellectual trends that informed many eighteenth-century art forms not usually associated with the world of tea.

Dr. Christine Guth led the Asian design history strand in the V&A/RCA History of Design Programme between 2007-16. She has written widely about aspects of the history of collecting, transnational cultural exchange, and material culture, particularly in relation to Japan. Her book length publications include Art Tea and Industry: Masuda Takashi and the Mitsui Circle (Princeton 1993); Art of Edo Japan: The Artist and the City 1615-1868 (Abrams 1996; Yale 2010); and Hokusai’s Great Wave: Biography


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