Blazing Guns and Noble Swords: The Spectacle of Samurai Masculinity


Start Date.

21-04-2016

End Date.

21-04-2016

Time.

18:30- 20:00

By.

Dr Doreen Mueller


In this lecture, Dr Doreen Mueller will explore how swords and guns were envisioned in the popular imagination in early modern Japan. While swords had encapsulated the honour codes and practices of the samurai for centuries, guns were only introduced to Japan in the sixteenth century, and their role in the construction of samurai masculinity and authority was more problematic. Guns exerted fascination because of their exotic origins and their association with gunpowder and the element of fire. Swords and guns were displayed as paraphernalia in samurai processions, and penetrated deep into the popular imagination through novels, plays and popular prints. This presentation will explore the rich popular visual culture that engendered the creative reimagining of swords and guns as tokens of samurai masculinity.


Dr Doreen Mueller

Dr Mueller is a Senior Teaching Fellow in the Department of the History of Art and Archaeology at School of Oriental and African Studies. Since 2012 she has lectured on Japanese Art and History for the BA and MA courses, Postgraduate Diploma Course in Asian Art at SOAS and also for Sotheby’s Institute of Art. Her research explores the interaction between text and image, how narratives are produced and the materials that helped engender these narratives: paintings, illustrated prints and manuscripts in nineteenth century Japan. Her PhD examined how disasters were recorded in Japanese painting with a focus on the Tenpō Era Famine (1833-39).


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