Color in Ancient and Medieval East Asia
Edited by Mary M Dusenbury
With essays by Monica Bethe, Mary M Dusenbury, Shih-shan Susan Huang, Ikumi Kaminishi, Guolong Lai, Richard Laursen, Liu Jian and Zhao Feng, Chika Mouri, Park Ah-rim, Hillary Pedersen, Lisa Shekede and Su Bomin, Sim Yeon-ok and Lee Seonyong, Tanaka Yoko, and Zhao Feng and Long Bo
Color was a critical element in East Asian life and thought, but its importance has been largely overlooked in Western scholarship. This interdisciplinary volume explores the fascinating roles that color played in the society, politics, thought, art, and ritual practices of ancient and medieval East Asia (ca. 1600 B.C.E.–ca. 1400 C.E.). While the Western world has always linked color with the spectrum of light, in East Asian civilizations colors were associated with the specific plant or mineral substances from which they were derived. Many of these substances served as potent medicines and elixirs, and their transformative powers were extended to the dyes and pigments they produced. Generously illustrated, this groundbreaking publication constitutes the first inclusive study of color in East Asia. It is the outcome of years of collaboration between chemists, conservators, archaeologists, historians of art and literature, and scholars of Buddhism and Daoism from the United States, East Asia, and Europe.
Mary M Dusenbury is research curator and a former curator of Asian art at the Spencer Museum of Art, University of Kansas.