Dutch, American, English
After nearly two centuries of restricted foreign contact, Japan became increasingly exposed to Western culture in the 1850s as new trade agreements prompted cross-cultural interaction. The influx of unfamiliar technology and customs gave rise to anxiety as well as awe among the Japanese people, whose curiosity about the external world is evident in the detailed depictions of foreign subjects by ukiyo-e (pictures of the floating world) artists. Yokohama-e (pictures of Yokohama) depicting the commercial trading port that connected Japan to the West, as well as Western culture in general, became extremely popular. Artists commonly based their illustrations on secondary material as well as eyewitness accounts, so misconceptions and stereotyping of foreigners were common. This portrait of three foreigners gathered around a table is one such example. The Dutchman is wearing a tricorne hat and holding a pipe, the Englishman is drinking (presumably ale), and the American is wearing a feather headdress while holding a telescope.
Title in Original Language
Type of Item
1 print on hōsho paper : woodcut, color ; 35 x 25 centimeters (block), 35 x 25 centimeters (sheet)
Last updated: August 27, 2014