Arrival of the "Southern Barbarians"

c. 1600
Image: 146.7 x 337.2 cm (57 3/4 x 132 3/4 in.)
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Location: not on view

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Did You Know?

Europeans were called "Southern Barbarians" because their ships arrived in Japan from the south.

Description

In this screen a formidable Portuguese ship with its fanciful rigging arrives in a Japanese port, much to the delight of the locals. The anonymous artist’s attention to detail in the depiction of the people, often grouped in vignettes, makes for a compelling scene, heightened by the use of billowing gold clouds leading the eye through the composition. Near the top of the left screen, rich women, sequestered in their homes, enjoy the dockside scene. In the scene on the right, townspeople and shop owners watch as the Portuguese walk down the street, obvious in their cartoonish, balloon-shaped pants. At the far edge of the right screen, Jesuit priests are visible in their long black robes. Japanese patrons were curious about the outside world, and scenes of foreigners such as this were particularly popular.
Arrival of the "Southern Barbarians"

Arrival of the "Southern Barbarians"

c. 1600

Japan, Momoyama period (1573-1615)

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