Thursday, October 6
Kadõ: Japan's Way with Flowers
by Robert Mintz
Associate Curator of Asian Art, Walters Art Museum
Flowers play a key role in Japanese culture and society. The earliest Japanese references to flowers and to their arrangement as a cultural practice date back to the 7th century. Originally compiled for presentation on Buddhist altars, flowers and the symbolic potential of their arrangement grew over many centuries to become one of Japan's most recognizable cultural practices. Emerging from the practice of offering flowers in the context of religious ritual, paintings and literature for secular audiences transformed flowers into potent, culturally symbolic forms. These cultural symbols live on today in the diverse practices of ikebana studied and taught throughout Japan and across the globe. This talk will examine Japanese traditions of flower symbolism and flower arrangement by sketching out a developmental historical framework to support the rich tapestry of Japanese flower imagery we encounter today.
Thursday, November 17
Mysterious Creatures, Towering Trees and Lofty Figures in Sacrifice:
The Lost Civilization at Sanxingdui, China
by Jay Xu
Director, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco
In the mid-1980s a Bronze Age civilization lost for more than three thousand years was found in China's southwestern Sichuan province. Remains of a large-scale walled settlement were discovered at the village of Sanxingdui which included two underground pits filled with a staggering abundance of objects. This lecture will discuss the material culture of the mysterious Sanxingdui civilization, introduce the finds from the two pits and their significance, re-construct possible original appearance of the bronze sculptures, and their use in the elite sacrifice.