Andrew Watsky

P.Y. and Kinmay W. Tang Professor of Chinese and Japanese Art
Office Phone
2N-6 Green Hall


Andrew M. Watsky specializes in the arts of Japan, with a research focus on the 16th century. Professor Watsky’s current work centers on chanoyu, the Japanese practice of drinking tea and appreciating the diverse objects employed in its consumption, such as ceramic, lacquer, and metal vessels, paintings, calligraphies, and incense. His previous book, Chikubushima: Deploying the Sacred Arts in Momoyama Japan, examined warrior patronage of the sacred realm in the late 16th–early 17th century and, in turn, how numinous meaning was expressed in the diverse yet interconnected mediums then most highly valued; it won both the John Whitney Hall Book Prize and the Shimada Prize in 2006. He has received numerous fellowships: from the Japan Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Tokyo National Research Institute of Cultural Properties, and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. He has an interest, as well, in recent Japanese art, which stems from an earlier career at a contemporary art gallery in Tokyo.

At Princeton, Professor Watsky is affiliated with the Program in East Asian Studies and is director of the graduate Program in East Asian Art and Archaeology. He is also on the editorial board of Archives of Asian Art.

Professor Watsky will not be accepting new graduate students for Fall 2024.

Teaching Interests

Professor Watsky teaches courses on a wide range of Japanese art, including a survey from prehistoric times to the present day, and more focused seminars on diverse topics, including Japanese prints, chanoyu, the role of appropriation in the arts of Japan, and the relationship of the visual and literary arts. All courses emphasize the study of actual works, in the Princeton University Art Museum and on study trips to museums, galleries, and private collections.

Current Research

Professor Watsky is currently engaged in several projects concerning chanoyu. He is coediting a book titled Chigusa and the Art of Tea, which centers on a single ceramic object, originally made in China in the 13th century as a utilitarian jar; the jar was exported to Japan, where it was appropriated for use in chanoyu as a tea-leaf storage jar, elevated to high status as an exemplary aesthetic object, received its proper name, Chigusa, and became one of the most highly valued objects of 16th-century Japan. Recently acquired by the Freer Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., Chigusa was the focus of an exhibition at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery in Washington in spring 2014 that will be shown at the Princeton University Art Museum in fall 2014. Watsky is also writing a book on 16th-century chanoyu objects, focused on those that appear in the 1588 chanoyu treatise, The Records of Yamanoue no Sōji.


Ph.D., Princeton University, 1994

Selected Publications

Chigusa and the Art of Tea, with Louise Allison Cort (Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, 2014).

“Representation in the Nonrepresentational Arts: Poetry and Pots in Sixteenth-Century Japan,” in Japanese Visual Culture: Performance, Media, and Text, ed. Haruo Shirane, Kobayashi Kenji, and Saitō Maori (National Institute of Japanese Literature, 2013); re-edited in Impressions 34 (2013).

“Picturing Yūsai: The Poet Evoked,” in Crossing the Sea: Essays on East Asian Art in Honor of Professor Yoshiaki Shimizu, ed. Gregory Levine, Gennifer Weisenfeld, and Andrew M. Watsky (P. Y. and Kinmay W. Tang Center for East Asian Art, Princeton University, 2012).

Crossing the Sea: Essays on East Asian Art in Honor of Professor Yoshiaki Shimizu, coedited with Gregory Levine and Gennifer Weisenfeld (P. Y. and Kinmay W. Tang Center for East Asian Art, Princeton University, 2012).

“Locating ‘China’ in the Arts of Sixteenth-Century Japan,” in Location, ed. Deborah Cherry and Fintan Cullen (Blackwell Publishing, 2007); first published in Art History 29.4 (September 2006).

Chikubushima: Deploying the Sacred Arts in Momoyama Japan (University of Washington Press, 2004).

“Commerce, Politics, and Tea: The Career of Imai Sōkyū,” In Japanese Tea Culture: Art, History, and Practice, ed. Morgan Pitelka (Routledge, 2003); originally published in Monumenta Nipponica 50.1 (Spring 1995).

“Shi no bijutsu kara, Benzaiten no bijutsu e: Tsukubusuma Jinja Honden moya ni tsuite” [“From the Art of Death to the Art of Benzaiten: Concerning the Tsukubusuma Jinja Moya”], in Zen Kindai Nihon no shiryō isan purojekuto: Kenkyū shūkai hōkokushū 2001–2002, by COE Japan Memory Project (Historiographical Institute [Shiryo Hensan-jo], The University of Tokyo, 2003).

“Floral Motifs and Mortality: Restoring Numinous Meaning to a Momoyama Building,” Archives of Asian Art 50 (1997–98).

Home Department and Other Affiliations
Art & Archaeology
East Asian Studies Program
P.Y. and Kinmay W. Tang Center for East Asian Art