Exploring Asian Art at SOAS Library

By Special Collections, SOAS Library|12th June 2014|Teaching & Learning|0 comments

SOAS Archives has recently hosted two specialist workshops showcasing beautiful examples of Asian art in the collections of rare books and manuscripts held by the section, with a focus on material relating to Japan.

The most recent session, pictured here, took place on 4th June, for students taking the SOAS Diploma in Asian Art (Japan and Korea module). A separate session held in April, was for SOAS students taking the Popular Practice in the Edo Period Arts module, as part of their MA in the History of Art.



In each session participants were introduced to examples of some of the treasures in the SOAS collections, and given the opportunity to handle some of these items and discuss their background and significance. Material put out on display in the Special Collections Reading Room included rare Japanese printed books, handwritten manuscripts, colour prints and maps. Just a few examples are shown here.

The burning of the Sanjō Palace, from the Heiji Monogatari (Tale of the Heiji insurrection), Japan, 17th Century. Comprising 12 stitch-bound manuscripts. Ref: MS 41853. © SOAS

Men washing each other in a public bathhouse. Odokebanashi ukiyo-buro (Bathhouse of the Floating World). Japan, Edo, early 19th century. Woodblock printed book. Ref: EF.DB 913.55/58960.

Pages of Japanese waka (court poems) from the Kokin wakashū (Anthology of Japanese Poetry Ancient and Modern). Japan, Kyoto, late 13th to mid-14th century. Ink on sized paper, decorated covers (of a later period) in gold on dyed paper. Ref: MS 85146. © SOAS This is the oldest Japanese manuscript in the Library.

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About Special Collections, SOAS Library

Broadly speaking, our collections reflect the British interaction with Africa, Asia and the Middle East over the last 250 years, and include archives of missionary societies, NGOs and campaign groups, and business organisations, as well as papers of individuals, including diplomats, campaigners, and academics. If you have any questions, or comments, please get in touch! email: special.collections@soas.ac.uk tel: +44 (0)20 7898 4180

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