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Title: The European presence in Japanese screen painting of the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries
Author: Meehan, Olivia Anne
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2011
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In 1543, after more than a century of exploration and expansion, the first Europeans, the Portuguese, landed on the Isle of Tanegashima fl ~lib, off the southern island of Kyushu, Japan. Their arrival has been described in Japanese as kamikaze 1$ 00,, 'by the winds of the gods', or by accident. Indeed the Portuguese did not intend to visit Japan; their landing on Japanese shores was caused by severe weather conditions. The focus of this dissertation is the so-called Nanban byobu l�J~ MOO. Southern Barbarian folding screen paintings, depicting the arrival of Portuguese merchants and missionaries on Japanese shores. The paintings are classified as kinsei shokifuuzokuga ili:t!t1'.JJ~OO.{~@ (Early Modern Genre Painting) depicting scenes from contemporary life in and around the city. They were designed and produced by Japanese artists for Japanese patrons and audiences, they were not items made for export. Typically the screens were displayed in pairs, each screen consisting of two, six or eight panels and are divided into groups of 'arrival scene' paintings; the first group shows the departure of the Portuguese 'Black Ship' from a foreign port on the left screen and the right the arrival of the ship to Japan, the next group show the arrival of the Portuguese 'Black Ship' to Japanese shores on the left screen and on the right screen is a procession of Portuguese merchants and missionaries through the streets of a Japanese port town. Around ninety screens survive and can be found in collections worldwide. The aim of this study is to 're-contextualise' these paintings in the Japanese interior space and the practice of Japanese painting workshops. It intends to challenge the frequent use of European sources to decipher and make meaning of the iconography of Nanban byobu by reconsidering their place in the development of Japanese painting in the early modern period.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Namban screen painting