Date of this Version
Published in The Social Fabric: Deep Local to Pan Global; Proceedings of the Textile Society of America 16th Biennial Symposium. Presented at Vancouver, BC, Canada; September 19 – 23, 2018. https://digitalcommons.unl.edu/tsaconf/
In general, Japanese culture has developed under the influence of foreign cultures, and textiles are no exception. In this presentation, I will focus on tapestries from the 19th century (the late Edo period) to the early 20th century (the Showa period), and discuss how Japanese tapestries achieved their original expression under the influence of Chinese and European tapestries. The Japanese began to seriously produce tapestry weaving around the end of the Edo period, but in the beginning, they just copied Chinese and European tapestries. Regarding these early productions, little research has been accomplished yet. In this presentation, I will try to clarify the difference between Japanese copies and Chinese and European originals; which points were learned; and which parts of the originals were ignored by the Japanese craftsmen. Until the late 19th century (the Meiji period), Japanese textiles had specific functions, such as designs for clothing or partitions for home interiors. However, around the early 20th century (the early Showa period), textiles with no such specific functions began to be produced. Such pieces were used specifically for appreciation, such as paintings. In this presentation, I will also introduce several pieces of this kind from the 19th century through the early 20th century, and I will discuss the social context and influence of foreign cultures in forming such transformations from the pieces with functions to the pieces for pictorial appreciation and artistic self-expression. Through these discussion, I hope to shed light on how globally traded textiles influenced the formation of local Japanese tapestries and their artistic expression.