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Title: The Making of Shen Nanpin (1682–ca. 1760): Painting, Collecting, and Canonizing in Japan and China
Authors: Karyadi, Caitlin
Advisors: Watsky, Andrew M
Marcon, Federico
Contributors: Art and Archaeology Department
Keywords: authenticity
Chinese-Japanese exchange
early modern Japan
Edo painting
Qing painting
transregional studies
Subjects: Art history
Asian studies
African history
Issue Date: 2024
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: The Chinese painter Shen Nanpin traveled to Japan in 1731, and despite his brief sojourn of less than two years and subsequent absence, he later became a figurehead of Japanese painting. While period records relating to Nanpin are scant and inconclusive, the extant works bearing his name number in the thousands and are clearly not all painted by one person. Rather than working against this conundrum to recapture the individual himself, this dissertation approaches Nanpin as a constructed Sino-Japanese phenomenon, taking as subject the many images and texts that fashioned the Chinese painter. What I term the “Nanpin phenomenon” expands beyond the lifespan of one individual, chafing against many assumptions endemic to the current study of East Asian art history. These include nation-state bounded historical models, over-emphasis on separating fakes from originals, a fixation on singular origins, and a tendency to overlook how reception constructs artists and artworks. Only by disentangling the many objects, claims, and assumptions that have come to constitute “Shen Nanpin” can we begin to discern the interwoven processes that assembled his art historical significance. Across an introduction, five chapters, and an epilogue, this dissertation explores the transregional and transhistorical entanglements that created Nanpin’s legacy. Chapters One and Two delve into the layered circumstances of Sino-Japanese exchange that allowed Nanpin, a previously unknown Chinese painter, to find almost immediate reception in early modern Japan. Chapter Three focuses on the many “Nanpin” paintings, charting how dynamic exchange between Chinese workshops and Japanese collectors cooperated to distill his attributed imagery into an increasingly refined and recognizable brand. Chapter Four considers how Japanese artists redefined Nanpin’s memory through their own artistic endeavors that positioned the absent Chinese painter as lineal forefather. The fifth chapter analyzes how and why aesthetic treatises of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries re-constituted Nanpin as a polemicizing patriarch. Finally, the epilogue concludes with the positioning of Nanpin in Japan’s first modern art histories, projects that were coeval with the nation’s imperialist ambitions abroad. In a sense, this dissertation ends where it began by outlining the history underlying Nanpin’s place in our current art historical narratives.
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Art and Archaeology

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