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Gold in Japanese Art: Sacred & Profane Dr Meri Arichi Wednesday 24 October 2018

Gold was used generously to adorn Buddhist icons in Japan from the 6th century when Buddhism was introduced from China via Korea, and for centuries was considered the most appropriate precious material for decorating Buddhist halls and statues. The perception of gold as a sacred material underwent a radical change in the 16th century when newly powerful warrior rulers began decorating their castles with magnificent screens and wall paintings with gold-leaf.  This lecture examines the significance of gold in Japanese Art as the symbol both of the sacred and of wealth and power. 


Dr. Meri Arichi studied Art History in London and Florence, and worked at Christie’s in Kings Street, London from 1989 to 1993. She returned to university to study Asian Art at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London in 1993, and completed a post-graduate diploma in Asian Art (1994), MA  in History of East Asian Art,(1996) and PhD (2003) for her thesis on Shinto-Buddhist syncretic Art. She has been teaching History of Japanese Art in the Department of History of Art and Archaeology at SOAS as a Teaching Fellow since 2007. She has also run courses at Birkbeck College, the V&A, British Museum, and the Courtauld Institute of Art Summer School. She has led tours to Japan and lectured on cruises.