NAGASAKI: WHERE THE LAND ENDS AND THE SEA BEGINS Russell Kelty – TAASA Review March 2015
A component of the planned exhibition Treasure ships: Art in the age of spices at the Art Gallery of South Australia presents art from Australian and international collections which displays the impact of Europeans at ports such as Nagasaki.
From the late 16th century, the annual arrival of Portuguese and then Dutch VOC ships transformed this small fishing village into an international entrepÃ´t and inspired the art and fashion of a unique period in Japanese cultural history called the nanban (southern barbarian) era. On 9 June 1580, Omura Sumitada, Lord of Omura, using his baptismal name of Don Bartholomeu, officially ceded Nagasaki to the Society of Jesus, creating an opportunity to establish the most lucrative Macauâ€“Nagasaki sea route for the Portuguese.
This was based largely on the trade of Chinese silk and ceramics for Japanese silver, although the ship journeys were fraught with the dangers of tempestuous seas and wakÅ pirates. The excitement and anticipation which accompanied the impromptu arrival of the exotic Portuguese, along with unimaginable riches and novelties including military technology, inspired the creation of screens such as Arrival of the Black Ship from the late 16th century by the ateliers of feudal lords...