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  • Name and Fame: Material Objects as Authority, Security, and Legacy

    Morgan Pitelka

    Chapter from the book: Berry M. & Yonemoto M. 2019. What Is a Family?: Answers from Early Modern Japan.


    What role does material culture play in the maintenance of family over time? This essay explores this question with reference to four elite warrior and urban commoner families: the Tokugawa, Hosokawa, Raku, and Sen. It examines the gathering of material objects imbued with meaning, ranging from swords to tea bowls to paintings. It considers the ways in which families employed these objects in a range of ritual contexts, including gift exchanges, banquets, and tea ceremonies. It also considers the manner in which families passed on these collections as visible depositories of honor to the heads of successive generations. It argues that families resourcefully used material objects to ground their authority and conceal vigilant change, creating the useful conceit of continuity.

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    How to cite this chapter
    Pitelka, M. 2019. Name and Fame: Material Objects as Authority, Security, and Legacy. In: Berry M. & Yonemoto M (eds.), What Is a Family?. California: University of California Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1525/luminos.77.e

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    Published on Sept. 17, 2019


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