Biombos Namban | Namban Screens
Vasconcelos, M. J. (introduction)

MNSR (Museu Naciuonal Soares dos Reis) e IMC (Instituto dos Museus e Conservação), 2009, Porto.
1st Edition.
100 pages (30 x 24 x 1,4 cm).
Brand new hardcover book, in publisher’s grey letter embossed cloth with a brand new dust jacket, both pristine.
Language: English
ISBN-10: 9727763758
ISBN-13: 978-9727763757
English-Portuguese parallel text.
63 plates, nearly all in colour and some fold out.

Beautifully illustrated description of these Japanese screens manufactured during the 16th century, when the Portuguese navigators and missionary clergy landed in the Land of the Rising Sun to commerce and to propagate Christianity. They use very colourful but simple methods to enhance depictions of those European (Portuguese) visitors. The book is based on the screen’s collection in the Oporto Museum (Museu Nacional Soares dos Reis).


“The pair of Namban screens in the Museu Nacional de Soares dos Reis was acquired by the Portuguese State in 1955 […] This publication intends to examine these pieces, and their historical context in detail. Apart from their unquestionable aesthetic quality, their historical and cultural significance justifies the enthusiasm and fascination of many who come across them during a visit to the Museum. A piece of Japanese furniture, whose initial function is clearly foreign to us, becomes a document of rich meaning. To western eyes, its decoration minutely describes with unusual delicacy the arrival of the Portuguese ship that annually docked in the south of Japan, in a commercial initiative that established the link connecting different worlds hitherto unknown to each other. The importance given to the arrival of the Portuguese, and the consequence opening of Japan to new worlds, is still visible today in the frequent visits of Japanese that come here with the purpose of seeing these screens. These screens were restored between 2000 and 2001 in Japan and were present at the opening of the National Museum of Kyushu, dedicated to the history and memory of contacts by Japan with other civilizations.” excerpt from the introduction by Maria João Vasconcelos.


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