Sōtatsu's Times: Perspectives on the Culture and Politics of Kyoto

Freer, Meyer Auditorium
Saturday, December 5, 10 am-5 pm

Sōtatsu: Making Waves is the first comprehensive exhibition on the art of Tawaraya Sōtatsu (active circa 1600–40) in a Western museum. It also marks the first occasion for key Sōtatsu paintings acquired by Charles Lang Freer to be seen alongside other important Sōtatsu works from collections worldwide. In this symposium, scholars from several disciplines discuss the social history, literature, religion, art, and patronage that shaped Sōtatsu’s work and life. Speakers include Mary Elizabeth Berry on Kyoto’s social history, Joshua S. Mostow on the Tales of Ise, Morgan Pitelka on Kyoto culture in the early seventeenth century, Tomoko Sakomura on Sōtatsu’s many inspirations, and Jacqueline I. Stone on religion in Kyoto during the artist’s time. The symposium will be moderated by Yukio Lippit and James Ulak. Open to the public; no registration required.


  • 10–10:30 am: Coffee in the Freer Conference Room
  • 10:30–10:45 am: Welcome
    • Yukio Lippit, Harvard University
    • James Ulak, Freer|Sackler
  • 10:45 am–1:00 pm: Presentations
    • Mary Elizabeth Berry, University of California, Berkeley, “It Was the Best of Times to Be an Artist”
    • Morgan Pitelka, Carolina Asia Center and University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, “The Arts of Reinvention: Kyoto Culture in the Early Seventeenth Century”
    • Jacqueline I. Stone, Princeton University, “Sōtatsu, Kōetsu, and the Lotus Sūtra: The Religious World of the Kyoto Townspeople”
  • 1:00–2:30 pm: Lunch break
  • 2:30–4:00 pm: Presentations
    • Tomoko Sakomura, Swarthmore College, “Sōtatsu and the Art of Mix and Match”
    • Joshua S. Mostow, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, “Sōtatsu and Tales of Ise (Ise monogatari)”
  • 4 pm: Round table discussion
  • 5 pm: Program concludes
Sōtatsu's Times

Speaker Bios


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Sotatsu's Waves at Matsushima (PDF)
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