Installation view of exhibition
Past exhibition

Exhibition: Japan's Global Baroque, 1550-1650

While politically tumultuous, the 16th and 17th centuries in Japan were also marked by vibrancy and innovation in the visual and literary arts. A chance landing by a few Portuguese sailors on the southern coast of Japan in 1543 fostered the nation’s participation in the burgeoning global trade of textiles, porcelains, lacquers, and other luxuries. This focused exhibition includes important loans alongside works from the Gallery’s collection and explores the critical role that imported goods played in Japanese culture during this momentous period. In addition to spectacular screens showing the arrival of foreign ships and their crews, the exhibition also features Japanese lacquers produced for domestic use and export, Chinese ceramics made for the Japanese market, and Persian and Indian trade textiles, some of which were refashioned into Japanese clothing.

Japan's Global Baroque, 1550–1650

Fall-Front Cabinet with Flowers and Birds, Japan, Momoyama period (1573–1615), late 16th century. Hinoki cypress with black lacquer, sprinkled gold lacquer, inlaid mother-of-pearl, and bronze fittings. Yale University Art Gallery, Purchased with a gift from the Japan Foundation Endowment of the Council on East Asian Studies and with the Leonard C. Hanna, Jr., Class of 1913, Fund

Portable Shrine with Madonna and Child

School of Giovanni Niccolò (Italian, 1560–1626), Portable Shrine with Madonna and Child, Japan, Momoyama period (1573–1615), ca. 1597. Black lacquer with sprinkled gold lacquer and inlaid mother-of-pearl. Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Mass., Museum purchase with funds donated anonymously, 2000, ae85152. © 2014 Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Mass. Photo: Walter Silver

Arrival of the Europeans

Arrival of the Europeans, Japan, Edo period (1615–1868), early 17th century. Ink, color, gold, and gold leaf on paper. Mr. and Mrs. Robert Feinberg Collection. Photo: Courtesy Harvard Art Museums

Views of the Exhibition

Exhibition organized by Denise Patry Leidy, the Ruth and Bruce Dayton Curator of Asian Art. Made possible by the Japan Foundation Endowment of the Council on East Asian Studies and the Art Gallery Exhibition and Publication Fund.