Project

White Lines: Female Authorship and the Hakuby├┤ Painting Tradition in Japan ca. 1200-1600

Program

ACLS Fellowship Program

Department

Art History

Named Award

ACLS/NEH International and Area Studies Fellow

Abstract

My project examines the tradition of "white line" (J. hakuby├┤) pictorial representation, a technique that depicts narrative subject matter with meticulously rule-drawn lines and motifs rendered in glossy black patches of ink, while leaving large areas of blank, white paper. This unique mode of graphic representation became strongly associated with the tradition of amateur female authorship during a period in which the "feminine hand" was thought to have all but disappeared. This is the first scholarly articulation of the aesthetic premises and visual qualities of this painterly mode, and demonstrates the unique spaces it opened up for the inscription of female subjectivity within the medieval Japanese cultural landscape.