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WAM Updates are short, informal posts that put the spotlight on small, but exciting, Museum-related projects, such as the addition of a new painting or sculpture to a gallery. They also serve as updates on staff, new services or programs, and other WAM news.

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Monday, July 30, 2018

Sainsbury/WAM Fashioning Colors Symposium

WAM partnered with the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures, one of oldest organizations devoted to the study of Japan in the UK, to co-organize the symposium Fashioning Colors: New Perspectives on Japanese Woodblock Prints. Held last week at the Sainsbury Institute in Norwich, England, this international symposium brought together ten print and textile scholars and conservators from the UK, the US, and Japan to discuss the intersection of fashion, textiles, and ukiyo-e woodblock prints through the lens of color. The event was conceived as a pre-exhibition symposium for an upcoming show at WAM in 2020 that will draw on our collection of rare early Japanese prints from the late 17th century to late 18th century.

Speakers shared a diversity of fresh perspectives and research, such as Henry Smith (Columbia University) in his talk about the crossover histories between color printing in prints and textiles, and Stephanie Su (Sainsbury Institute) in her presentation about the prestigious kimono house Chiso and its 19th century commissioning of printed paintings to inspire its designers.

Prints, fashion, and textiles were also placed in a global historical context by economist Fujita Kayoko (Ritsumekan University), who discussed the domestic consumption of textile imports in early modern Japan, while conservation scientist Marco Leona (Metropolitan Museum) presented how the introduction of synthetic dyestuff from Europe to Japan dramatically transformed the context for print production. The following day the British Museum hosted a special viewing of works in its storage.

For those who missed the symposium do not despair. The exhibition catalogue in 2020 will feature essays by the symposium speakers so stay tuned!

--Vivian Li, Associate Curator of Asian Art and Global Contemporary Art

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