People of Color in European Art History


  1. att. Kano Naizen

    Namban Byobu (detail): Japanese and Portuguese Christians with servants

    Edo period, Japan (c. 1590-1600)

    [x] [x] [x]

    Namban Art

  2. att. Kano Domi

    Namban Byobu (detail): Portuguese Merchants Arriving at a Japanese Port

    Edo period, Japan (c. 1590-1600)

    [x] [x] [x]

    Namban Art

  3. att. Kano Domi

    Namban Byobu (detail)

    Edo period, Japan (c. 1590-1600)

     [x] [x]

    Namban Art

  4. att. Kano Domi

    Namban Byobu (detail): Unloading of a Portuguese Carrack

    Edo period, Japan (c. 1590-1600)

    [x] [x] [x]

    Namban Art

  5. att. Kano Domi
Namban Byobu (detail): A Portuguese Merchant and a Japanese Noble Confer
Edo period, Japan (c. 1590-1600)
[x] [x] [x]
Namban Art

    att. Kano Domi

    Namban Byobu (detail): A Portuguese Merchant and a Japanese Noble Confer

    Edo period, Japan (c. 1590-1600)

    [x] [x] [x]

    Namban Art

  6. att. Kano Naizen
Namban Byobu (detail)
Japan, Edo period (c. 1570-1600)
[x]
Namban Art

    att. Kano Naizen

    Namban Byobu (detail)

    Japan, Edo period (c. 1570-1600)

    [x]

    Namban Art

  7. Edo Period Artist (Kano School)
Nanban Screen (detail), Portuguese Traders in Nagasaki
Japan (c. 1600)
Pigment, Gold Leaf on Paper
[x]
Namban Art

    Edo Period Artist (Kano School)

    Nanban Screen (detail), Portuguese Traders in Nagasaki

    Japan (c. 1600)

    Pigment, Gold Leaf on Paper

    [x]

    Namban Art

  8. Edo Period Artist (Kano School)
Nanban Screen (detail), Portuguese Viewing a Peacock
Japan (c. 1600)
Pigment, Gold Leaf on Paper
[x]
Namban Art

    Edo Period Artist (Kano School)

    Nanban Screen (detail), Portuguese Viewing a Peacock

    Japan (c. 1600)

    Pigment, Gold Leaf on Paper

    [x]

    Namban Art

  9. 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.

    (pic here: http://prensa.lacaixa.es/obrasocial/photo.html?noticia=18987&imagen=28

    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.

    Thought you might find it interesting :)

    Thank you so much for this submission!
    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.
  10. baital:

    medievalpoc:

    I was at the Rijksmuseum yesterday and they had a pretty fantastic pair of Namban screens in their Asian Pavilion. I took as many closeups as I could before a tour group pushed me out of the way, but once I got back to my hotel I found out their website has two fairly high-res images of them you can zoom in on.

    Anywho, here are the closeups I took. Feel free to curate them as you see fit. The information placket at the museum described them as being from c.1600-1625. In addition, it explained that the two Japanese men seen in the third image near the Jesuit priest are Japanese Christians, identifiable by the fact they’re holding prayer beads.

    Here are the links to the high-res images on the museum website:

    https://www.rijksmuseum.nl/en/collection/AK-RAK-1968-1-A/foreigners-in-japan

    https://www.rijksmuseum.nl/en/collection/AK-RAK-1968-1-B/foreigners-in-japan

    [mod note]

    OH WOW!!!

    I’m reformatting these so people can really appreciate both the amazing artwork and your photos! You submitted so many, I’m going to make them into multiple posts. It’s really difficult to find decent photos of Nanban Screens, since apparently a lot of museums and curators do not seem to think they’re very important?

    Personally, they’ve rapidly become one of my favorite forms of art.

    One of my term papers in the Spring was on the depiction of non-white foreigners in the nanban trade screens. The class was structured around this exhibit: http://www.bostonglobe.com/arts/theater-art/2013/04/04/west-meets-east-portugal-jesuits-and-japan-exhibit-mcmullen-museum-art/mLIfyK8BaV3d6ShF9UD3RO/story.html

    I surveyed 3 pairs of screens, and “Out of 238 non-Japanese figures in the two Naizen screens, 55 have notably dark skin or facial features that do not fit the same large-nosed “barbaric” model used for the Portuguese (Roughly 23%). This 23% ratio of non-White figures within the depicted population of foreigners is quite close to that seen in the other screens, with 13 non-White figures out of 63 foreigners in the Asian Art Museum screens (20%) and 15 out of 50 in the Burke screens (30%).”

    I made some further breakdowns, trying to ascertain whether there was any significant difference in the way Japanese artists were depicting South Asian/Indian figures and African figures. Mostly it seemed like mustaches were more of a thing for Indians.

    Also the whole research process was really goddamned depressing, because the Portuguese slave trade in the Indian Ocean was fucking terrible.

    Wow….is there any chance you’d be willing to submit or link to your paper or a portion of it? It sounds kind of amazing.