Hi! Huge fan of your work. Yesterday I went to an exhibit on Japanism (mainly focusing on Catalan production, but with important international artworks included). And there was this Japanese folding screen depicting the arrival of the Portuguese to Japan in the 17th c.
you can download the HD version clicking on “Calidad Alta” right underneath “Descargar”, you must download it if you want to see the detail - and it’s so worth it, believe me!). What is so revealing about it is that everyone has Japanese-like features (especially the eyes) even though it depicts a fair amount of Black men (I’m guessing slaves/serves brought by the Portuguese, considering the Atlantic trade had been going on for a while by then).
Next to it was a print I couldn’t find online, but it was Felipe II with the Japanese ambassadors (1667) and their depiction was very white-washed. They honestly looked like your average white men wearing kimonos. The guide explained that it is believed that the author himself was not a witness of the event so he drew them after whatever stories he had heard.
I love Namban screens, and of course you can see that there are many, many Afro-Portuguese on missions like these. This is true throughout Nanban screens depicting the arrivals of Spanish and Portuguese merchants and emissaries. Most of them are probably not enslaved, especially the sailors.
As for the painting showing the Japanese ambassadors, I couldn’t find it either but I think their depictions as looking “white” can be attributed to the artist not having seen them, but also the fact that Japanese weren’t considered to look physically different than Europeans, to Europeans. The same can’t be said for how the Europeans looked to the Japanese (as can be evidenced from the images they made of them). Actually, there’s less evidence of racial Othering (to my eyes at least) in Nanban screens’ depictions of the Afro-Portuguese than the White Portuguese.
I saw some images very similar to these recently at the Portland Art Museuem’s Samurai exhibition. Beautiful!
Love life’s patterns: Just saw a glass one of these today in the window of an antique store and noticed how beautiful it was. No wonder then that it’s Tiffany’s. :D And now this! <3 art <3 life <3 beauty
It’s nice to see Google go past the stereotypes of St. Patrick’s Day and look at the artistic heritage of Ireland.
For those who don’t know, the Book of Kells is a masterpiece of world culture. It is an illuminated manuscript Gospel book in Latin, containing the four Gospels of the New Testament. It was created by Celtic monks c. 800 or slightly earlier. The manuscript takes its name from the Abbey of Kells that was its home for centuries.