JAPAN: Historical Images from the Cortazzi Collection
Monday 24 Jun 2013 - Sunday 18 Aug 2013 | Open weekdays 09:30 – 17:30, except bank holidays
Embasy of Japan in the UK, 101/104 Piccadilly, London W1J 7JT
Cortazzi Collection Exhibition
About the Exhibition
JAPAN: Historical Images from the Cortazzi Collection commemorates the tenth anniversary of the establishment of the Lisa Sainsbury Library. Over a period of half a century, Sir Hugh and Lady Cortazzi amassed a collection of over sixty historical surveys of Japan, both European and Japanese. This exhibition displays a selection of images from that collection including a Venetian image from the early sixteenth century and also those made in Japan during the Edo (1603–1868 CE) and Meiji (1868–1912 CE) periods. On display are Japanese Edo-period guidebooks for travellers who were increasingly making pilgrimage journeys throughout the country. There are illustrated city plans detailing the various temples and shrines to be visited. First-hand knowledge of Japan was scarce and very few Europeans had ever visited the country. The only Europeans who were allowed to directly trade with Japan were the Dutch and they were confined to the artificial island of Dejima in Nagasaki. Fairly accurate representations of this island often appeared in histories of the country. By contrast, European representations of cities such as Edo (present-day Tokyo) and the shogun’s castle were works of pure fantasy, relying on the tales of travellers who themselves had never been to Japan. The exhibition is organized in collaboration with the Sainsbury Institute.