77 Dances: Japanese Calligraphy by Poets, Monks, and Scholars, 1568-1868

Thursday, October 12 to Sunday, December 10, 2006,
Joel and Lila Harnett Museum of Art

On view from October 12 to December 10, 2006, 77 Dances: Japanese Calligraphy by Poets, Monks, and Scholars, 1568-1868, presents seventy-seven hanging scrolls, fan paintings, albums, poem cards, and ceramics, that examine the flowering of the art of writing during Japan's early modern period. Each piece communicates the traditional belief that freedom of the brush is a true revelation of one's personality and a means of individual expression while allowing the viewer a glimpse into the culture that held calligraphy in such high esteem. 77 Dances: Japanese Calligraphy by Poets, Monks, and Scholars, 1568-1868, presents to Western audiences, for the first time, a full range of early modern Japanese calligraphy.

In East Asia, calligraphy has been considered the highest of all forms of art for more than fifteen centuries. Represented in this exhibition is artwork created during the Momoyama and Edo periods (1568-1868) when Japan was ruled by powerful shoguns, the arts flourished, and the interest in calligraphy was revitalized. During this early modern period, peace and prosperity replaced civil warfare, thus artistic production and patronage was greater than ever. The appreciation of calligraphy is due, in part by the noble position held by the scholar-artist and the expressive potential of more than fifty thousand characters written in six different forms of scripts with an infinite number of graphic variations. Calligraphy was practiced by classical and Chinese-style poets, Confucian scholars, literati artists, Zen monks, devotees of courtly waka poetry, and haiku. Although scripts and styles may be viewed in historical and cultural contexts, the primary focus of the exhibition revolves around an understanding of the works as individual dances of line and form in space.

Organized by the University of Richmond Museums, the exhibition was curated by Stephen Addiss, Tucker-Boatwright Professor in the Humanities-Art and Professor of Art History at the University of Richmond. The exhibition and publication are made possible in part with the generous support of The Blakemore Foundation, The Metropolitan Center for Far Eastern Art Studies, with additional funding from the University of Richmond's Cultural Affairs Committee and the Louis S. Booth Arts Fund. An illustrated exhibition catalogue, published by Shambhala Publications, is available for purchase at the University of Richmond Museums. 77 Dances: Japanese Calligraphy by Poets, Monks, and Scholars, 1568-1868 will travel to the Birmingham Museum of Art, Alabama; the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York; and the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens, Delray Beach, Florida.

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Programming

Lecture, Dance, and Concert
Calligraphy Dances
Lecture by Stephen Addiss, Tucker-Boatwright Professor in the Humanities-Art and Professor of Art History, University of Richmond, and curator of the exhibition (with performance by University Dancers, Myra Daleng, Director of Dance, and eighth blackbird, ensemble in residence, University of Richmond)
Wednesday, October 11, 2006, 7 p.m.
Camp Concert Hall,
George M. Modlin Center for the Arts
Reception and Preview of the exhibition
Wednesday, October 11, 8 p.m.
Joel and Lila Harnett Museum of Art, University of Richmond Museums,
George M. Modlin Center for the Arts

Lecture and Demonstration
The Japanese Tea Ceremony
Lecture and demonstration by Janet Ikeda, Associate Professor of Japanese and Associate Dean of the College,
Washington and Lee University
Wednesday, October 25, 2006, 7 to 8 p.m.
Cousins Studio Theatre,
George M. Modlin Center for the Arts

Meet the Artist Series
Creating 77 Dances
Lunchtime gallery talk by Myra Daleng, Director of Dance, University of Richmond
Friday, October 27, 2006, 12:30 to 1 p.m.
Joel and Lila Harnett Museum of Art,
George M. Modlin Center for the Arts

Demonstration
Bunraku Puppets
Puppet demonstration by J. Martin Holman, Director, Bunraku Bay Puppeteer and Coordinator of Japanese Studies Program, University of Missouri-Columbia
Wednesday, November 1, 2006, 7 to 8 p.m.
Cousins Studio Theatre,
George M. Modlin Center for the Arts

Workshop
Creating Haiku
Workshop presented by members of the Richmond Haiku Workshop
Wednesday, November 15, 2006, 7 to 8 p.m.
Booker Hall BB101,
George M. Modlin Center for the Arts