Belief in Print – The History of Senshafuda
Rebecca Salter, President of the Royal Academy of Arts
The origins of senshafuda and pilgrimage go back more than 1000 years. These votive prayer slips marked with pilgrims’ names were devoted (and indeed pasted) to temples in a practice of faith that achieved particular popularity during the travel boom of Japan’s Edo period (c. 1603–1868). Today, the tradition is kept alive through the medium of print and the enthusiasm of members of nōsatsu-kai: associations that make senshafuda, and travel together to temples. This talk will trace the development of senshafuda from graffiti through calligraphy to woodblock print, and their role as a living
Edo-period tradition in contemporary Japan.
Rebecca Salter spent two years as a research student at Kyoto City University of Arts, Japan after graduating from Bristol Polytechnic. While in Japan she was trained in many traditional techniques and combines these interests with her main practice in painting. In 2011 she had a major solo show at Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, Connecticut and has also featured in numerous international solo and group exhibitions. She was elected a Royal Academician in 2014 and became Keeper of the Royal Academy in 2017. In December 2019 she was elected President of the Royal Academy.