Color in Ancient and Medieval East Asia

Edited by Mary M Dusenbury

View Inside Price: $65.00

June 9, 2015
288 pages, 9 1/2 x 11
136 color illus.
ISBN: 9780300212990
HC - Paper over Board

Distributed for the Spencer Museum of Art

Out of Print

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.

“The unique perspective offered by each of the essays highlights the fruitful results that can be obtained through
interdisciplinary cooperation between scientists and humanities scholars. This study, a pleasure to read,
will certainly inspire further research on the topic of color in East Asian art.”—Allison Miller,
Journal of the American Oriental Society