Organized Panel Session
Between the eighth and sixteenth centuries, East Asian courts relied on cultural exchange for the maintenance of security and friendly relations. When looking at these relationships, current scholarship mostly highlights the transnational movement of peoples and goods westward. Breaking away from this model, our multi-disciplinary panel investigates the eastward movement from a later period of time. More specifically, via the fields of international relations, history, and art history, our panel examines how cultural elements of the tributary system and diplomatic exchanges impacted Sino-Japanese and Sino-Korean relations. Byproducts from court-to-court exchanges — whether tangible art-gifts or intangible legal codes — help to demonstrate how each polity assimilated and transformed “foreign” elements to create new aesthetic, political, and legal formations.
Each paper in this panel employs the term “cultural exchange” to explore the history of diplomatic interactions among East Asian dynasties and kingdoms. Leidy traces prototypes of an eighth century sculpture of the Buddha to reconstruct the cultural transmission from Kashmir through Tang China and Korea to Japan. Lee examines the significance of political legitimacy associated with the symbolic power of China's Ming emperors in order to reassess the domestic order in early Chosŏn Korea. By scrutinizing an enigmatic dragon painting with a faded seal, Pang reconstructs the gift-giving rules of the Sino-Japanese tributary trade in the fifteenth century, the art collections that Japanese imperial envoys viewed at both courts, and how such diplomacy might have inspired a new artistic style and forgeries in sixteenth-century Muromachi Japan.