images of men and women--primarily couples, several small groups of figures--of various ethnicities, wearing various costumes and with differing hairstyles and headgear; Asian, European, African and North American figures; map of Northern Hemisphere at end of scroll; inscriptions above each group of figures

People of Many Nations, 1649

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In 1543, Portuguese explorers, missionaries, and merchants arrived for the first time in Japan. They were followed by the Spanish, Dutch, and British. With the establishment of trade relations, more and more information about the rest of the world entered Japan. Artists began to depict these strange-looking foreigners. This handscroll shows figures representing forty different peoples, beginning with the Chinese, who the Japanese considered to be the world’s leaders. The scroll also includes pairs of figures identified as Europeans, Africans, and peoples of North and South America, images derived from a Dutch map that was circulated in Japan at this time. The handscroll goes on to describe fantastic people like giants and Lilliputians and ends with a circular map of the world.

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Details
Title
People of Many Nations
Role
Artist
Accession Number
2015.30
Curator Approved

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images of men and women--primarily couples, several small groups of figures--of various ethnicities, wearing various costumes and with differing hairstyles and headgear; Asian, European, African and North American figures; map of Northern Hemisphere at end of scroll; inscriptions above each group of figures