Japanese Art and Western Influence

A Short Survey

The Portuguese were the first Europeans to have international relations with Japan. They came to Japan in 1542 and were expelled from Japan in 1639 after many conflicts.The Dutch who came to Japan in1600 were allowed to stay, for trading only, and were the only Westerners to have admission to Japan. No Japanese citizen was allowed to leave the country.The Dutch were only allowed to trade from Decima a small artificial peninsula in the harbour of Nagasaki.
In 1854 the USA forced Japan to open their country for relations with other countries, which resulted in a revolution and the Meiji Restoration of 1867.
This was the start of a new cultural and economic relationship from Japan with the rest of the world.
So we can distinguish three periods in Japanese Art history with Western Influence:
Namban Art - Portuguese period (1542 - 1639) or "Christian century"
Koma-Ga - Period of seclusion (1639 - 1854), Koma-ga means literally "red hair painting", after the Dutch blond and red haired people. This is in the Tokugawa or Edo period (1600 - 1867).
Shin-hanga, New Art, specially in the Meiji period (1867 - 1912)
and Taisho period (1912 - 1922).

In all these three periods many Art and Craft objects were made by the Japanese craftsmen for export to the West.In the 17th and 18th century mainly porcelain and lacquer objects. In the Meiji period, when the Japanese crafts market changed from a local to a massive export market,they made high quality decorative objects from many divers materials as bronze, iron, ivory, cloisonne, earthenware, silk, wood and again lacquer and porcelain.
Most of these objects were made in a traditional Japanese style and technique, but often you can find objects made in a Western style or technique.These last objects I like to show and discuss on these Web pages.