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Nanban Art: Japan’s First Encounter with the West at Morley College London

Nanban Art: Japan’s First Encounter with the West at Morley College London

About the Course

This course explores Japanese works of art inspired by Japan’s first contact with Western nations in the 16th century. The cultural and commercial exchanges, artistic transformations that took place after the landing of the Europeans, as well as the introduction of Christianity in Japan will be discussed.

Magnificent folding screens illustrating the arrival of the European ships and the encounters between Western merchants and missionaries with the Japanese will be investigated. Unique religious Nanban objects, produced by the Japanese for devotional purposes for a domestic and export market will be considered. Furthermore versatile Nanban designs and themes in Japanese craft products, like armour, lacquerware, ceramics and textiles will be introduced. Moreover folding screens showing maps and early Western-style painting will be examined to complement the narrative of Japan’s first encounter with Europe.
By the end of the course you will be able to
Get an overview of the socio-historical background of the first arrival of Europeans in Japan
Gain an understanding of the European impact on Japanese art
Recognise and interpret key works of Nanban art
Class format and activities
You will be
• Listening to the tutor’s presentations and explanations
• Taking notes
• Participating in class discussions and group work
• Asking questions related to the topic

Constructive and supportive feedback from your tutor will help you succeed during the class.

Entry requirements
No previous knowledge of Japanese history or art history is necessary. Complete beginners are welcome.

What you need to know before you enrol
This course makes no physical demands. There is a lot of listening and observing.

What you will need for your class
Paper and pen will be useful for making your own notes in class.

What you can do next
You can continue with other art history courses at Morley College exploring different areas and periods of history. Type Art History into the Morley website to see what is on offer. For example tutor Monica Hinkel is teaching VAH146A Japonism: Japan’s Impact on Western Art in January 2020.

If you will be redeeming a CraftCourses gift voucher on this course, the voucher code must be provided at the point of booking.


Pedro Diego at Morley College London
61 Westminster Bridge Road
Lambeth, London
Greater London
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Suitable for

  • Public transport
  • Wheelchair users

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