Yukio Lippit’s research and teaching interests center around Japanese painting of the medieval (1200-1600) and early modern eras (1600-1868), as well as the history of Japanese architecture.
His book Painting of the Realm: The Kano House of Painters in Seventeenth-Century Japan (2012) was awarded the Charles Rufus Morey Book Award by the College Art Association and the John Whitney Hall Book Prize by the Association of Asian Studies. His article “Of Modes and Manners in Medieval Japanese Ink Painting: Sesshū’s Splashed Ink Landscape of 1495” was awarded the Arthur Kingsley Porter Prize by CAA in 2013. Other books include The Artist in Edo, Irresolution: The Paintings of Yoshiaki Shimizu, Japanese Zen Buddhism and the Impossible Painting, Sōtatsu: Making Waves (with James Ulak), The Thinking Hand: Tools and Traditions of the Japanese Carpenter (with Mark Mulligan), Kenzo Tange: Architecture for the World (with Seng Kuan), Colorful Realm: Japanese Bird-and-Flower Paintings by Itō Jakuchū (1716-1800), and Awakenings: Zen Figure Painting in Medieval Japan (with Gregory Levine).
Current and future projects include a book on medieval ink painting titled Illusory Abode, as well as studies on the sculpture Ashura, the Ashikaga collection, Tōhaku on Painting, the Ise Shrines, the monk-painter Sesson Shūkei, the ergonomics of art, and the Shōsōin Treasury. From 2013 to 2018 Lippit served as the Johnson-Kulukundis Family Faculty Director of the Arts at the Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Study. In 2018 he was appointed Harvard College Professor for a five-year term for distinguished contributions to undergraduate teaching.