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Japan Envisions the West: 16th-19th Century Japanese Art from Kobe City Museum

Seattle Art Museum
Seattle WA – Part I: Oct 11-Nov 25, Part II: Dec 1-Jan 6

Gountei Sadahide (1807–1879) - Scene of Departing Ship, Port of California, 1862

Gountei Sadahide (1807–1879), Scene of Departing Ship, Port of California, 1862, Ukiyo-e o--ban triptych woodblock print; ink and color on paper [Seattle Art Museum, Seattle WA, Part I: Oct 11-Nov 25, Part II: Dec 1-Jan 6]

Japan Envisions the West is a rare exhibition of 142 unique and exotic pieces from Japan’s Kobe City Museum, many of which have never been exhibited outside Japan. The show provides an eye-opening look at how Western civilization influenced Japanese aesthetics during early interactions between the countries, starting with the arrival of Spanish and Portuguese missionaries and traders in the 1540s.

Paintings, prints, maps, screens, textiles, lacquerware, ceramics and metalwork are part of this major exhibit, which includes the first map of Japan published in Europe, entitled Depiction of the Island of Japan (1595) by Portuguese illustrator Luis Teixeira. Part way through the exhibit, all of the works on paper, including the prints and maps, will change over.

Katsushika Hokusai (1760—1849) - Two Ladies Looking Through a Telescope

Katsushika Hokusai (1760—1849), Two Ladies Looking Through a Telescope, from the series “Fanciful Presentation of Seven Useless Habits”, woodblock print [Seattle Art Museum, Seattle WA, Part I: Oct 11-Nov 25, Part II: Dec 1-Jan 6]


Spanning three centuries, a period known as sakoku or “closed country” (1639-1853) is highlighted. During this time, Japan only allowed Dutch and Chinese traders to the port of Nagasaki. European motifs were synthesized to fruitfully enrich Japanese style in the decorative arts. Two Ladies Looking through a Telescope, a woodblock print by Katsushika Hokusai from the series “Fanciful Presentation of Seven Useless Habits”, which depicts a young woman looking through a telescope, a western invention, symbolizes the Japanese desire for a larger world view. 

When Japan signed its first treaty with the United States in 185, an aesthetic shift again transformed the vision of Japanese artists, as exemplified by Scene of Departing Ship, Port of California, 1862. 

Seattle and Kobe are sister-cities and this exhibit marks the fiftieth anniversary of their successful cultural exchanges. Seattle Art Museum is the only American venue for the exhibition which includes an extensive catalog.

www.seattleartmuseum.org

Allyn Cantor

Artist, Foreign Emperors and Princes

(Circa 1610s), Foreign Emperors and Kings on Horseback, [Seattle Art Museum, Seattle WA, Part I: Oct 11-Nov 25, Part II: Dec 1-Jan 6]


 Sat, Nov 3, 2007