Japan/ Kano School
Namban Art, Momoyama Period (c. 1600 – 1610)
Tempera painting on mulberry paper covered with gold leaf; lacquered wooden grille
The presence of the Portuguese in the ports of southern Japan and their contact with a new culture at the end of the 16th century is the theme of these screens. The large format composition features a colorful panoramic view on a gold background.
A meticulous representation interprets the costumes and symbols of a lucrative trade in luxury products, silks, porcelain, small furniture and an element rarely portrayed, the silver chest.
On the first screen, there is a nau, a large vessel, and the disembarkation of travelers and their goods. The second screen contains the narrative of the commercial activity and also documents the presence of the missionaries of the Society of Jesus. In the background, the Christian mission is marked by a cross and the Portuguese witness, displaying local practices, a broad cultural encounter.