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Bachelor JapanistsJapanese Aesthetics and Western Masculinities$
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Christopher Reed

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780231175753

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231175753.001.0001

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Bachelor Brahmins

Bachelor Brahmins

Turn-of-The-Century Boston

(p.117) 2 Bachelor Brahmins
Bachelor Japanists

Christopher Reed

Columbia University Press

Explores the collecting and exhibition practices of Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, which set a standard for the display of Asian art in museums worldwide. Scholars such as Edward Morse and Ernest Fenollosa, funded by “Brahmin” patron-scholars such as William Sturgis Bigelow and Percival Lowell, provoked European Japanists into debates over the authenticity and excellence of Japanese prints and ceramics that foregrounded the Bostonians’ creation of a canon of Japanese art and religion associated with masculine aristocracy. Challenges to these gendered hierarchies came in the form of novels and, most dramatically, from Isabella Stewart Gardner’s collection of East Asian art, closed to the public and dispersed after her death.

Keywords:   Boston, Museums, Gender, Prints, Ceramics, Buddhism, Shinto

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