Seminar of the Department of Art Research, Archives, and Information Systems held on Rethinking the Relationship between Rimpa and Noh

Discussion following the presentation by Frank Feltens

 The Department of Art Research, Archives, and Information Systems holds seminars almost monthly. At the 5th seminar that was held on August 30, 2011, Mr. Frank Feltens, a Ph.D student at Colombia University, presented the results of his research in a presentation entitled Rethinking the Relationship between Rimpa and Noh. Mr. Feltens came to Japan to serve as a visiting researcher in the Department over about a three-month period from mid-June of this year to early September. OGATA Korin (1658–1716) established his own style of painting by fusing traditional pictorial expression and decorative design. Korin studied Noh drama at starting in his childhood and is known to have had an affinity for Noh chanting that lasted his entire life. Previous research has noted that this art may have had a substantial impact on Korin’s work. In light of previous research, Mr. Feltens’ presentation at the seminar focused on Korin’s motif selection and concept of beauty by looking not just at painted works but also at sources such as crafts, ceremonial dress, and the libretti of Noh dramas. Mr. Feltens utilized approaches such as spatial composition analysis and performance theory to interpret Rimpa art. In a discussion following the presentation, Ms. Izumi TAKAKUWA, head of the Intangible Cultural Properties Section of the Institute’s Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage, noted differences in the bases and techniques of studying the history of the performing arts and art history from the perspective of Noh drama research. Although drawbacks of an interdisciplinary approach became evident, active discussion impressed the need for more definitive validation as part of increasingly varied research on the history of paintings and crafts from the Edo Period. The seminar provided an opportunity for a fulfilling scholarly exchange.

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