Link to the University of Pittsburgh Homepage
Link to the University Library System Homepage Link to the Contact Us Form

Art, Architecture, and the Asai Sisters

Self, Elizabeth F (2017) Art, Architecture, and the Asai Sisters. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

Download (2MB) | Preview


In early modern Japan, women, like men, used art and architectural patronage to perform and shape their identities and legitimate their authority. Through a series of case studies, I examine the works of art and architecture created by or for three sisters of the Asai 浅井 family: Yodo-dono 淀殿 (1569-1615), Jōkō-in 常高院 (1570-1633), and Sūgen-in 崇源院 (1573-1626). The Asai sisters held an elite status in their lifetimes, in part due to their relationship with the “Three Unifiers” of early 17th century Japan—Oda Nobunaga (1534-1582), Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1537-1589), and Tokugawa Ieyasu (1543-1616). As such, they were uniquely positioned to participate in the cultural battle for control of Japan. In each of my three case studies, I look at a specific site or object associated with one of the sisters. The objects that I examine—a mausoleum, a portrait, and a memorial temple—were all associated with death and memorial rituals. Mortuary culture may have been seen as an appropriate subject for women’s patronage because it was inherently a family responsibility, and it served to define and propagate the lineage. Since portraits and memorial buildings were expensive, ostentatious luxury objects, they were one of the most public ways that women could participate in patronage. This dissertation addresses two research questions: how the social identities of the Asai sisters, specifically their lineage connections and roles in the complex web of political marriages of the time, were defined and asserted by architectural and artistic patronage; and how these three case studies expand our understanding of the problematic term “patronage” and its relationship to women.


Social Networking:
Share |


Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Self, Elizabeth Fefs15@pitt.eduefs15
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairGerhart,
Committee MemberLinduff,
Committee MemberRajagopalan,
Committee MemberNara,
Date: 1 July 2017
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 6 April 2017
Approval Date: 1 July 2017
Submission Date: 30 March 2017
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 168
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > History of Art and Architecture
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: early modern Japan, women, gender studies, patronage, female patrons, Tokugawa, Asai sisters, seventeenth century, Japan
Date Deposited: 01 Jul 2017 23:48
Last Modified: 01 Jul 2017 23:48


Monthly Views for the past 3 years

Plum Analytics

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item