European Figures with Various Garments and Objects in Architectural Interiors: Reconsidering the Scholarly Approach to a Namban Byobu

Publication Date

April 2019


Nadja Aksamija


Art History


English (United States)


I take the MFA byobu as the primary source and focus on the visual and material evidence the work encompasses in itself. In the first chapter, I report the formal analysis of a folding screen, so-called European King and Members of His Court, which I have conducted with the generous support of the researcher, conservators, and curator at the Department of Japanese Art at the MFA Boston. Based on the new findings and remaining mysteries of the object, the subsequent chapters are dedicated to reevaluate the hypotheses regarding its production and usage discussed by the earlier scholars and propose a new theory according to my own analysis. The second chapter aims to understand the production of the MFA byobu and Western-influenced Japanese art in general. Similarly, the third chapter deals with the ways in which folding screens were utilized in the society of the sixteenth and seventeenth century Japan and the impact to the owners and viewers in the specific societal and political context.

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