The Botany of a Buddhist Sculpture: Prince Shotoku at Age Two
and Hinoki Cypress
In collaboration with Harvard Art Museum and Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University
Tuesday, June 15, 2021
7:00 PM EDT
Hosted online via Zoom
(Zoom link is in your registration confirmation e-mail)
This event offers a close encounter with one of the best-known residents of the Harvard Art Museums, Prince Shōtoku at Age Two (c. 1292). In the 1930s, the sculpture was found to contain a group of relic-like objects, perfectly preserved thanks to the remarkable qualities of the hinoki cypress wood from which the sculpture is made.
Join conservator Angela Chang, horticulturist Stephen Schneider, and curator Rachel Saunders for three perspectives on Prince Shōtoku and the ongoing collaborative research into this extraordinary sculpture.
Assistant Director, Conservator of Objects and Sculpture, and Head of Objects Lab, Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies, Harvard Art Museums
Angela Chang is Assistant Director, Conservator of Objects and Sculpture, and head of the Objects lab at the Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies at the Harvard Art Museums. She is a generalist who enjoys the treatment and technical study of materials and objects across cultures and time periods. She played an integral role in implementing best practices in preventive conservation for the design and reinstallation of art in the renovated Harvard Art Museums (2014). She was a part of the Straus Center’s project team for the 2003 conservation and study of John Singer Sargent’s murals at the Boston Public Library. In addition to medieval Japanese sculpture, her recent research interests in Chinese jade and ancient silver have led to contributions to Early Chinese Jades at the Harvard Art Museums (2019) and Animal-Shaped Vessels from the Ancient World: Feasting with Gods, Heroes, and Kings (2017).
Director of Operations, Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University
As the director of operations Steve oversees the activities of the Public Programs, Horticulture, Plant Production, and Facilities departments of the Arnold Arboretum. He also curates and manages the Arboretum’s bonsai and penjing collection, and endeavors to maintain effective working relationships with local, state, and federal government agencies, community organizations, and other University departments. Steve’s work has taken him to Japan on several occasions, where he works closely with colleagues at Utsunomiya University. Steve began his career at the Arboretum as an intern while working towards a bachelor’s degree in biology at Northeastern University. After graduating, he joined the Arboretum staff as an apprentice and later became a full-time horticulturist. Steve has been overseeing the entire horticulture maintenance operation as manager of horticulture since 2008. He also oversees the Arboretum’s internship programs that help to prepare future generations for jobs in public horticulture.
Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Curator of Asian Art, Harvard Art Museums
Rachel Saunders is responsible for the Japanese collections at the museums. She earned her Ph.D. from Harvard University (2015) and is a specialist in medieval narrative and sacred painting. Saunders has recently curated the exhibitions Painting Edo: Japanese Art from the Feinberg Collection (2020) and Prince Shōtoku: The Secrets Within (2019). She was previously a member of the Japanese department of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (2004–11), where she worked extensively with early modern rare books. She has held fellowships at the University of Tokyo (2011–14) and at the National Gallery of Art’s Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts (CASVA), in Washington, D.C. (2014–15). Her most recent publications are 「ハーバード大学美術館所蔵聖徳太子二歳像に秘められた意味」(“Secrets of the Sedgwick Shōtoku”). In 佐野みどり先生古稀記念論集刊行会編.『造形のポエティカー日本美術史を巡る新たな地平』(The Poetics of Form: New Horizons in Japanese Art History), ed. Sano Midori Festschrift Committee, trans. Ando Chihoko, 71–86. Tokyo: Seikansha, 2021; Saunders, Rachel, ed. Catalogue of the Feinberg Collection of Japanese Art. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Art Museums, 2021; Saunders, Rachel, and Yukio Lippit. Painting Edo: Japanese Art from the Feinberg Collection. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Art Museums, 2020.
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