Harvard Japanese art professor curates MET exhibit

Harvard Japanese art professor curates MET exhibit


we’re in the Japanese galleries on the
second floor of the Metropolitan Museum of Art these are the usual galleries of
Japanese art but we have now converted them to this exhibition of The Tale of
Genji the story is like any masterwork of literature when you read it at a
different time in your life it seems completely new it always seems like a
wonder a mere court lady could have written a thirteen hundred page book
with 54 chapters and some 500 characters and one of the most remarkable things
about it is the way that it’s written how it really it has this uncanny way of
feeling like a modern novel there are some wonderful pieces from the Harvard
Art Museum’s that haven’t really been seen very much we have a beautiful
decorated book a prayer for Genji which is this beautiful book from the 17th
century which is in a room where we talk about the relationship between Buddhism
and the tale of genji there’s a legend that would Osaka Shikibu wrote The
Tale of Genji at ischium at a temple on a moonlit night looking out after its
reflection on the waters of lake view up and ever since that legend came about
the temple has been an important site for worshipping what Osaka Shikibu for
the first time in the temples history it will be headed by a woman why she’ll you
Gabe and she agreed to officiate a Buddhist ceremony consecrating the space
because these aren’t just artworks they are Buddhist sacred sculptures that have
a life of their own that need to be cared for and venerated properly her
ceremony is going to do that today we had not just a once-in-a-lifetime but
sort of a once in an age opportunity to witness really an experience that’s both
cosmopolitan and global and artistic but also extremely Buddhist we were lucky
enough to have eight priests join us on in celebrating this and consecrating the
exhibit there are numerous exhibitions about Genji in Japan
and we learned a lot from all of those and our colleagues work in those
previous exhibitions but we wanted to share the full story in artworks outside
of Japan as well harford really opened up my eyes in the sense that in Japan
when I was doing my training and when I was studying it’s a very textual based
and very ritual based and the thing that really brings this together over time in
space is actually artistic and literary works it’s what connects us to the
people who encountered these amazing ideas amazing places amazing divinities

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