April 11, 2022/ 5:00 PM - 6:00 PM

Buddhas, Bells, and the Legacies of Japan's Medieval Metal Casters

In premodern Japan, metal cast goods, whether large-scale objects like Buddhist statues and bells or smaller items like pots and spades, were used by people of all statuses and mediated their everyday activities. How were lives (and afterlives) shaped by these tools of otherworldly ritual and everyday practice? How did purportedly marginal members of society contribute to some of its most critical forms of authority and governance? This talk, drawn from current book research, will discuss the function, form, and lasting impact of metallurgic labor by the medieval metal casters of Kawachi Province, artisans famed throughout history for their skills and whose work is illustrative of the crucial interdependencies on which premodern society at large relied.


About the Speaker:

Paula R. Curtis is a historian of medieval Japan. She is presently a Postdoctoral Fellow and Lecturer in History with the Terasaki Center for Japanese Studies at UCLA. Her current book project focuses on metal caster organizations from the twelfth to sixteenth centuries and their relationships with elite institutions. She also works on the history of documentary forgery in premodern Japan. In addition, Dr. Curtis collaborates in several online projects, including the Digital Humanities Japan initiative, online databases for digital resources, employment opportunities related to East Asia, and the blog What can I do with a B.A. in Japanese Studies.


Please register below to attend this virtual lecture.

Sponsor(s): Center for Buddhist Studies

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