Question 1: What historical event between 1852 and 1854 most likely influenced the appearance of Japanese style on European design of the same era? Be specific and provide a credible reference.
European design was affected by Japanese style during the years 1852 up to 1854 because of diplomatic relations between Europe and Japan had begun to develop. During this historical era, many Europeans went on voyages to Japan for various reasons. Japan had started to open up its territories and this created an interest among those who wanted to know more about these Asians. Owing to this development, America sent some of its citizens to go and explore Japan. The Dutch went to Japan in order to engage in trading activities. For example, Donker Curtis was a merchant sent by his government to sign a treaty with the Japanese in order to promote bilateral trade between the two nations. In turn, this created lasting relationships between the two countries and even influenced Dutch as well as other European designs (Snodin & Styles 35).
England was another European nation that had its design influenced by the Japanese style in what is known as the Anglo-Japanese style. This refers to a style that had its origins from as early as 1852 and progressed to later years. At the time, European nations had an appreciation and interest for Japanese culture and design, especially on England’s architecture and decorative art. The aesthetic movement greatly captured the attention of Europe because of its oriental characteristic. In the year 1852, some Japanese porcelain and lacquer was bought from Japan and taken to England. This sale was an initiative of the Government School of Design that had affiliations with the Museum of Ornamental Art. In addition, in the year 1854, the London based, Old Water-Colour Society realized much profit from the sale of as many as 37 Japanese items. Japanese furniture was known to have motifs, gilt lines, incised, minimal decorations, and simple structure. In turn, European artists followed the Japanese style in making their own furniture. This proves that Europeans were quite aware about the uniqueness of Japanese style and they wanted to incorporate it into their design (Schiffer 105).
Question 3: Name and describe another historical event that had a similar influence on design. Be specific and provide a credible reference.
In the years between 1852 and 1854, another historical event occurred. This was the Perry Expedition to Japan. Mathew Perry a commodore was given the responsibility of negotiating diplomatic relations with Japan. The responsibility meant that many other Americans went with Perry during the expedition and they saw the unique Japanese style. When trading activities between the Japanese and Americans took place, the latter bought many artifacts and were transported back to America. The American military had an interest in American art and it is no wonder that they took many Japanese bells during their conquests. The American forces took a bell from the Shuri Castle ruins in order to safeguard it. They believed that the bell had an artistic and historic value to them. Later on, the American navy incorporated some elements of the Japanese bell into its military design (Snodin & Styles 88). In conclusion, the historical events in the years 1852 to 1854, which was the formation of diplomatic relations between Japan, America, and Europe had quite an impact on design. The explorers who went to Japan were able to appreciate the style that existed; hence, incorporate it into their design.
Schiffer, Nancy. Japanese Porcelain 1800-1950. New York: Schiffer Publishing Limited, 1999. Print.
Snodin, Michael. & Styles, John. Design & The Decorative Arts, Britain 1500–1900. New York: V&A Publications, 2001. Print.
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