Events

CANCELLED - Sherry Fowler Lecture: Sinking Treasure and Making Rain in Japan: Negotiating with Dragons, Bells, and Water
Tuesday, April 7, 2020 - 6:00pm
CANCELLED - Sherry Fowler Lecture: Sinking Treasure and Making Rain in Japan: Negotiating with Dragons, Bells, and Water

Date: Tuesday, April 7, 2020 

Time: 6:00 PM

Location: Smith Memorial Student Union Room 333

(1825 SW Broadway, Portland, OR 97201)

PSU's Insitute for Asian Studies and The School of Art and Design present a Yoshiko Kakudo Memorial Lecture

About the lecture: Large bronze temple bells (bonshō) are a familiar sight in Japan, often located at Buddhist temples in a dedicated bell tower open on four sides and visible to everyone passing by. While the bells’ roles to announce time or in ritual protocol are also well known, what has almost been completely forgotten is the close relationship between bells, water, and dragons who in Asian folklore live in an undersea palace and are the source of storms. Many Japanese legends describe the Dragon King’s love of treasure and desire for bells. Throughout Japan the abundant illustrations and stories, some credible and others fantastic, of bells transported across the sea or sunk in bodies of water demonstrate that people respected the dragon’s power as a force that necessitated negotiation for survival. In some cases, especially in farming communities during periods of severe drought in the 18th and 19th centuries, temple bells were used in rainmaking rites to persuade the dragon to bring rain. Bells transported across the sea or sunk in bodies of water have common themes of loss, recovery, and international tension, including the political issue of 20th-century seizure and repatriation of Buddhist bells.

 

About the speaker: Sherry Fowler is Professor of Japanese Art History at the University of Kansas. She received her PhD in Japanese Art History from UCLA. Her publications include the books Accounts and Images of Six Kannon in Japan (2016), and Murōji: Rearranging Art and History at a Japanese Buddhist Temple (2005). Her recent book chapters include “Connecting Kannon to Women Through Print” in the book Women, Rites, and Ritual Objects in Premodern Japan (2018) and “Collective Commemoration: Kannon Print Scrolls from the Saigoku Pilgrimage” (2020). Sherry Fowler specializes in Japanese Buddhist art. Her interests include pre-modern sculpture, 18th and 19th century temple prints, pilgrimage prints, foreign interactions with Japanese art, issues of collecting, and ritual. She is currently researching the changing perceptions and relocations of Buddhist temple bells.