Yukio Lippit

Yukio Lippit

Professor of History of Art and Architecture
Japanese Art
Director of Undergraduate Studies
Yukio Lippit


Yukio Lippit received his B.A. (1993) in Literature from Harvard University and his M.A. (1998) and Ph.D. (2003) in Art and Archaeology from Princeton University before becoming a member of Harvard’s Department of the History of Art and Architecture in 2003. In addition to affiliations with the Centre Parisien d’Etudes Critiques (1993-4) and the University of Tokyo (1998-2000), he has spent a year at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts (CASVA) at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. as an Andrew W. Mellon Fellow (2002-3), and been a Getty Postdoctoral Fellow (2004-5).

His research interests focus primarily on premodern Japanese painting, with a special emphasis on Sino-Japanese painting associated with Zen Buddhism and the various lineages that emerged from it during the medieval and early modern periods. His forthcoming book, Painting of the Realm: The Kanō House of Painters in Seventeenth Century Japan, examines the transformations that took place in the field of Japanese painting when the Kanō, the official studio to the Tokugawa shogunate, reimagined its own lineage as a national genealogy of painting. Through their activities as artists, authors, and authenticators, members of the Kanō ensured that their house style would form the ground of Japanese painting throughout the early modern era.

A new book project titled Illusory Abode: Modes and Manners of Ink Painting in Medieval Japan examines how ink painting as a medium enabled discourses about representation that emerged in Zen Buddhist communities from the thirteenth through sixteenth century. In 2007 he co-curated, along with Gregory P. Levine, an exhibition on Zen figure painting to celebrate the centennial anniversary of the Japan Society of New York. In addition to co-authoring the accompanying catalogue Awakenings: Zen Figure Painting in Medieval Japan, he is co-editing with Levine a collection of essays on art and Zen Buddhism through the Tang Center for the Study of East Asian Art at Princeton University.

Recent articles have examined Sesshū’s Long Landscape Scroll, early Zen portraiture, the twelfth-century Genji Scrolls, Tawaraya Sōtatsu, Goryeo Buddhist painting, Southern Barbarian screens, apparition painting in thirteenth-century China, and the rhetoric of the drunken painter in Japanese literati painting. Premodern Japanese architecture constitutes another research interest, with a special emphasis on sukiya architecture. His teaching focuses primarily on four areas: Japanese architecture and urbanism, woodblock prints, modern art, and interregionalism in East Asian painting.

Contact Information

485 Broadway
Sackler 505
Cambridge, MA 02138
p: 617.495.3930

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