WRITING

QUEER BAROQUE: NIKKO MAUSOLEUM

ABSTRACT

At the turn of the 20th Century the term Baroque was used as a derogatory term to describe cluttered and outmoded design. As the number of European Architects surveyed Japan during this time, these Eurocentric terms were ascribed to Japanese structures. This article assess the social impact the application of these terms had, focussing on the Nikko Mausoleum. The Nikko Mausoleum was the most significant building project of the Edo period (1603-1868), and social significance of this building was side-lined during the late-1800s by European and Japanese critics. In assessing the problematic nature of ascribing the term Baroque to the Nikko Mausoleum, there is an exploration of the queer history associated with the Nikko Mausoleum and whether this may have impacted the perception of the site at the turn of the century.

 

This article was written for the SOAS History Blog as part of a programme of articles to celebrate Queer History Month 2022. The article can be read online here.