Nanban art (南蛮美術?) refers to Japanese art of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries influenced by contact with the Namban (南蛮?) or 'Southern barbarians', traders and missionaries from Europe and specifically from Portugal and Spain. The term also refers to paintings Europeans brought to Japan.
Namban art developed after the first Portuguese ships arrived in Kyushu in 1543. While Christian icons and other objects were produced, Namban byōbu (南蛮屏風?) or folding screens are particularly notable. Artists of the Kanō school were joined by those of the Tosa school in combining foreign subject matter with Japanese styles of painting. Canons of western art of the period such as linear perspective and alternative materials and techniques appear to have had little lasting influence. The persecution and prohibition of Christianity from the end of the sixteenth century and the Tokugawa policy of sakoku that largely closed Japan to foreign contact from the 1630s saw the decline of Namban art.
While Japonisme did not develop in the west until after the reopening of Japan in the 1850s and 60s, there is evidence of earlier Japanese influence in the art of Colonial Mexico as Japanese crafts were traded through the Manila Galleons from Manila (Philippines) to Acapulco (Mexico) from 1565 to 1815.
Museums with collections of Namban art
- Okamoto, Yoshitomo (1972). The Namban Art of Japan. Weatherhill. ISBN 0-8348-1008-5.
- "Nanban-e". Japanese Architecture and Art Net Users System. Retrieved 28 March 2011.
- "Nanban-byoubu". Japanese Architecture and Art Net Users System. Retrieved 28 March 2011.
- Lake, Rodrigo Rivero (2006). Namban: Art in Viceregal Mexico. Turner. ISBN 978-84-7506-693-6.
- "Kobe City Museum e-guide" (PDF). Kobe City. Retrieved 28 March 2011.
- "Biombos Namban (Namban screens)". Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga. Retrieved 28 March 2011.
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