This talk by Ewa Machotka, Associate Professor (Lektor) in Japanese language and culture at Stockholm University, will trace the image of Mt. Fuji in Japan’s art from Prince Shōtoku (1069), through early images by Katsushika Hokusai (1790-1849) and onwards to modern day.

In June 2013 Mt. Fuji, a dormant volcano and Japan’s tallest peak, was added to the prestigious UNESCO World Heritage Site list. Registered as “Mt. Fuji: Object of Worship, Wellspring of Art,” it is celebrated for its cultural significance rather than its natural beauty, for which it has also been recognized. How did an evidently hazardous natural formation transform into a national and global cultural icon featured in diverse artistic media across time that secured its place in the UNESCO annals?

This talk will trace the visual and conceptual metamorphoses of Mt. Fuji in Japan’s art from the pictorial biography of Prince Shōtoku (1069), who magically flew over Mt. Fuji on a black horse, through early modern printed interpretations by Katsushika Hokusai (1790-1849) and Utagawa Hiroshige (1797-1858), to modern paintings by Yokoyama Taikan (1868-1958), who created more than a thousand images of Mt. Fuji over the course of his life.

Dr. Ewa Machotka is Associate Professor (Lektor) in Japanese language and culture at Stockholm University. She is interested in interdisciplinary approaches that intersect visual arts with social and intellectual history, focusing especially on the role of visuality in collective representation, gender and nationalism. Her current research projects pertain to socially engaged artistic practices and the relationship between images of nature and environmental consciousness in Japan and East Asia. Machotka is the author of Hokusai’s Hyakunin Isshu: Visual Genesis of Japanese National Identity (Peter Lang P.I.E., 2009) and co-editor of the collected volume Consuming Post-Bubble Japan: Commodity, Garbage, Art (Amsterdam University Press, 2017).

The lecture will be held in English.