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Lecture: The Royal Cult of the Shoguns—Nikkō and the Deification of Tokugawa Ieyasu

December 8, 2016
Fullerton Hall

When the first Tokugawa shogun, Ieyasu, died in 1616, debate immediately ensued over what to do with his body. Experts considered various options, and he was subsequently buried near where he had lived. However, one year later, his body was disinterred and transferred to a new site at far-off Mount Nikkō. This talk investigates the origins and material features of the cult of Ieyasu, as well as the religious complexes associated with his veneration.

Lecturer Timon Screech, University of London, was born in Birmingham, U.K., and received a BA in Oriental studies at Oxford before completing his PhD at Harvard in 1991. He has also studied at the Universities of Geneva and Gakushuin, and has taught the history of Japanese art at SOAS, University of London, since 1991. In 2006, he became a professor of the history of art at SOAS.

Screech is the author of some dozen books on the visual culture of the Edo period. Perhaps his best-known work is Sex and the Floating World: Erotic Images in Japan, 1700–1820 (Reaktion, 1999; second, expanded, 2009). His field-defining general study, Obtaining Images: Art, Production and Display in Edo Japan, was published in 2012 (Reaktion Books/Hawaii University Press) and will be released in paperback in 2017. He has just completed a book on the early history of the East India Company’s role in cultural exchange, and is currently writing the Oxford History of Japanese Art.

This lecture is generously supported by James M. and Carol D. Trapp.

Presented by the Asian Art Council

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Photo by Sean Pavone