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The Western Scientific Gaze and Popular Imagery in Later Edo Japan

The Western Scientific Gaze and Popular Imagery in Later Edo Japan
The Lens within the Heart

Out of Print

Part of Cambridge Studies in New Art History and Criticism

  • Date Published: July 1996
  • availability: Unavailable - out of print July 1999
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521461061

Out of Print

Unavailable - out of print July 1999
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About the Authors
  • This is the first study to consider the introduction of Western technology in the eighteenth century, when, it has been assumed, Japan continued to isolate itself from external influence. Timon Screech demonstrates that the introduction of such Western equipment as lenses, mirrors, and glass had a profound impact on Japanese notions regarding the faculty of sight. The enormity of this paradigm shift was, moreover, felt less in Japanese scientific inquiry than in art and popular culture, where the devices were often depicted and used metaphorically, as commentary on the prevailing social norms. Based on archival sources, here published for the first time, this study also sheds new light on Japanese art and its relation to the West; the relationship of science to art and popular culture; and the autonomy and internationalisation of Japanese culture.

    • An in-depth study of how Japanese thought (especially in art) has reacted to the West
    • Well-illustrated and readable account of Japanese culture in a formative period
    • General interest for those concerned with cultural encounters, multi-culturalism, and Western expansionism
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Timon Screech's unusual and original book describes the Japanese reaction in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries to newly-imported Western scientific knowledge ...the narrative is dense, and though frequently highly entertaining, is hard work. This is certainly not a book for the casual dipping, but a most serious and original narrative.' Oliver Impey, Apollo

    'In this ambitious and stimulating book Timon Screech explores the impact of the West upon Japanese attitudes and perceptions in the last decades of the eighteenth century.' Burlington Magazine

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    Product details

    • Date Published: July 1996
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521461061
    • length: 321 pages
    • dimensions: 261 x 211 x 25 mm
    • weight: 1.195kg
    • contains: 149 b/w illus. 16 colour illus.
    • availability: Unavailable - out of print July 1999
  • Table of Contents

    1. Trade and culture in the eighteenth century
    2. The 'Batavian Temperament' and its critics
    3. Mechanics and Karakuri
    4. Machinery for pictures
    5. Seeing in
    6. The eye and the lens
    7. The view from on high

  • Author

    Timon Screech, University of London

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