Art History Adjunct Publishes Research

Kazuko Kameda-Madar headshot

“Copying and Theory in Edo Period Japan (1615-1868)” written by Art History Adjunct Kazuko Kameda-Madar, Ph.D., is included in Japanese Art: Critical and Primary Sources (2018) published by Bloomsbury in London/Oxford, UK. Her article is found under the section of Part 2: Painting Practice in Volume 4: Visual Cultures.

In this article, Kameda-Madar argues for a more subtle definition for ‘copy’ to embrace a notion for ‘pictorial model’ that allows for a more expansive understanding of terms like creativity and originality. As in many Western theories of imitation, one way to approach this problem is through ancient theories of painting that, in the case of the Chinese model, distinguish between copying as a mechanical practice concerned with technique, and imitation as the transmission of exemplary forms. Japanese artists believed the proper study of painting began with imitating the Chinese example in order to gain the technical discipline necessary for the development of an individual style. Kameda-Madar shows that this imitation is linked to the example of poetry, in which the works of venerated poets of an earlier age are quoted in more modern works, lending an element of referentiality and allusion to the imitation. More information on this project can be found via this link: