Time Signature in Namban Lacquerware: Tangible Forms of Storing Remembrance
AbstractThis paper attempts to establish ground for an Anthropological understanding of forms of transmission of tangible valuables between generations according to universalism versus cultural relativism dichotomy. The subject is exemplified with a specific universe of objects - Namban lacquerware, that are the outcome of an intercultural exchange between Europeans and Japanese during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Drawing on fieldwork experience, the aim is to understand the modus operandi of conservation and transmission of Namban objects. For that purpose, the notion of irreversibility and reversibility of events and material forms in time is developed according to Sir Karl Popper's metaphor of the Arrow of Time. Furthermore, a case of transformation of human bodies into objects of catholic worship is given. Finally, the paper examine how Namban chests containing relics were in display in religious context and, how nowadays the same items are in display in secular settings, namely in museums.