Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Elegantly Intriguing: Form, Function, and Multisensory Aesthetics in Heian Women's Interior Space
by LaLonde, Zoe, M.A., University of Oregon, 2019, 91; 13899401
Abstract (Summary)

This thesis analyzes how noblewomen utilized partitions (shutters, blinds, screens, and curtains) to position themselves as active subjects in their social engagements by controlling the attention and perception of visitors within eleventh-century Japanese residential architecture known as shinden-zukuri. Chapter 1 evaluates the multisensorial stimuli created by partitioned courtly interior space. Chapter 2 focuses on partitions as mediating devices on two topics: spatial articulations of noblewomen’s embodied purity; and the act of concealment and revelation as a mechanism to emphasize their presence, comparable to the environment surrounding a “hidden” Buddha (hibutsu). Through a close reading of women’s use of partitions in period writings, such as the Pillow Book and Tale of Genji, this thesis reveals that—contrary to preceding studies—veiled sequestration can be interpreted more proactively than just patriarchal oppression. Women took advantage of the open layout of shinden-zukuri to amplify their presence as intriguing and powerful individuals.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Walley, Akiko
Commitee: Walley, Glynne, Hutterer, Maile
School: University of Oregon
Department: Department of the History of Art and Architecture
School Location: United States -- Oregon
Source: MAI 81/2(E), Masters Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Art history, Architecture, Asian Studies
Keywords: Heian Japan, Multisensory aesthetics, Shinden-zukuri, The Pillow Book, The Tale of Genji, Women
Publication Number: 13899401
ISBN: 9781085731249
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