Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
Mentone Girls' Grammar School | Kerferd Library

Japan under the Shôguns: Galleries

Year 8 History: Middle Ages and early exploration | Japan under the Shoguns (c.794 – 1867)

Source: General Sasa Narimasa in a heavy snowstorm, Toyohara Chikanobu. (Rijksmuseum, 2020)

Level 1 resource"The third shôgun, Tokugawa Iemitsu,... enforced isolation from much of the rest of the world in the seventeenth century, believing that influences from abroad (meaning trade, Christianity, and guns) could shift the balance that existed between the shôgun and the feudal lords. He was proven right two centuries later, when change came in the form of Perry's ships." (Asia for Educators, Columbia University, 2009)

Referencing Notice Don't forget to cite and reference your sources. For help see the Junior School or Senior School referencing guides, and / or CiteMaker.
Resource Key

When accessing content use the numbers below to guide you:

LEVEL

Brief, basic information laid out in an easy-to-read format. May use informal language. (Includes most news articles)

LEVEL

Provides additional background information and further reading. Introduces some subject-specific language.

Level 3 resourceLEVEL

Lengthy, detailed information. Frequently uses technical/subject-specific language. (Includes most analytical articles)

General Capabilities

Replace the following with the Victorian Curriculum General Capabilities from teacher's documentation on Rubicon Atlas.

Enduring Understandings

Students will form some understanding of Japanese history and culture. They will come to understand the implications of contact between cultures and the threat caused to non-European cultures of European imperialism.

Essential Questions
  • What was Japanese society like before and during the reign of the shoguns?
  • What led to the rise of the Shoguns?
  • How did Japan change under the rule of the shoguns?

Using YouTube on campus help and instructions
Scroll through the image collections and click on the image, or image title to go to the original online artifact and view the image in more detail.

Japan under the Shoguns | Galleries: Pre 1850 Japan

Battle at Uji Bridge, from The Tale of the Heike 宇治橋合戦図 平家物語合戦図屏風のうち 江戸前期

Unknown artist 1650-1700
Ink, colours and gold on paper
H. 152.5 cm x W. 361.2 cm

Source: Gift of Robert Raphael, Asian Art Museum Chong-Moon Lee Center for Asian Art and Culture, San Francisco, USA.

"In the shadow of temple buildings in the upper right, armed warriors on foot and on horseback fight each other across a bridge. Two warrior priests fight nimbly on the beams, one jumping over the head of his comrade to get to the enemy. The armor and weapons­ primarily bows and arrows and long halberds instead of swords-date the story to a time well before the screens were painted. The battle depicted occurred in 1180 and was described in The Tale of the Heike, a literary epic about the wars between two samurai clans at the end of the Heian period (794-1185). On the right side of this screen are members of the Minamoto (Genji) clan, who have come out of hiding at a Buddhist temple to fight the warriors of the Taira (Heike) clan, on the left. The Minamoto side is defeated in this particular battle, but they triumph in the end, and become Japan's first family of shoguns." (Asian Art Museum Chong-Moon Lee Center for Asian Art and Culture, n.d.)

Arrival of a Portuguese ship (Nanban screen), one of a pair 南蛮屏風 江戸時代

Unknown artist 1620-1640
Six panel folding screen
Ink, colors, and gold on paper
H. 147.6 cm x W. 320 cm

Source: The Avery Brundage Collection, Asian Art Museum Chong-Moon Lee Center for Asian Art and Culture, San Francisco, USA.

"In 1543, three Portuguese travelers aboard a Chinese ship drifted ashore on Tanegashima, a small island near Kyushu. They were the first Europeans to visit Japan. In 1548, Francis Xavier, a Jesuit, arrived from Goa to introduce Christianity to the Japanese. Thereafter a stream of Portuguese traders and Jesuit missionaries came to Japan. The Japanese called them nanban (southern barbarians) because they sailed to Japan from the south. Portuguese merchants brought tin, lead, gold, silk, and wool and cotton textiles, among other goods, to Japan, which exported swords, lacquer ware, silk, and silver. The Japanese were fascinated by the Portuguese because of their ships, exotic appearance, costumes, language, and merchandise. They depicted these foreigners in great detail in paintings and screens. This work portrays the arrival of a Portuguese ship at the port of Nagasaki. On the left (shown here) are the captain and his crew, who have just landed; some cargo is still being unloaded." (Asian Art Museum Chong-Moon Lee Center for Asian Art and Culture, n.d.)

Scenes from the Nakamura Kabuki Theater

Artist: Attributed to: Hishikawa Moronobu (Japanese, died 1694)
JapaneseEdo period, Jôkyô to Genroku eras (1684–1704)

Scenes from the Nakamura Kabuki Theater
Nakamuraza, Yoshiwara fûzoku zu byôbu
中村座図屏風

One from a pair of six-panel folding screens; ink and color on gold-leafed paper.

Source: Fenollosa-Weld Collection, Museum of fine art, Boston, USA.

Amusements at the Dry Riverbed, Shijô

Amusements at the Dry Riverbed, Shijô

Artist Unknown, Japanese
Japanese Edo period Kanbun era (1661–73)

The Theater and Entertainment District at Shijô-kawara
Shijô kawara yuraku zu byôbu
四条河原遊楽図屏風

One from a pair of six-panel folding screens; ink and color on gold-leafed paper

Source: Fenollosa-Weld Collection, Museum of fine art, Boston, USA.

A beauty playing koto 古山師政筆 琴を弾く美人図

Furuyama Moromasa (Japanese, 1712 - 1772)
Hanging scroll Ink and colors on silk
H. 137.2 cm x W. 75.6 cm

Source: Gift of Alexander and Cornelia Calhoun, Asian Art Museum Chong-Moon Lee Center for Asian Art and Culture, San Francisco, USA.

"Attended by a female servant, a young woman plays a Japanese zither (koto) by the light of a full moon. Arranged around the women are various accoutrements of upper-class daily life: elegant lacquered trays with smoking utensils and incense, a lampstand, and rolled bamboo blinds. This work belongs to a genre popular in the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, in which women in contemporary fashions are shown engaging in elegant pastimes. Here the setting recalls an aristocratic villa, while seasonal elements of a full moon and red maple tree, both associated with autumn, call to mind the traditions of classical poetry." (Asian Art Museum Chong-Moon Lee Center for Asian Art and Culture, n.d.)

Emperor Xuanzong and Yang Guifei Gensô Yokihi yûraku zu 玄宗楊貴妃遊楽図

Kubo Shunman (Japanese, 1757–1820)
Hanging scroll; ink, color, gold, and mica on silk 53 x 85.2 cm

Source: Bigelow collection of Asian art, Museum of fine art, Boston, USA.

Pleasure Outing at Mukôjima to View Cherry Blossoms Mukôjima kôraku zu 向島行楽図

Utagawa Toyoharu (Japanese, 1735–1814)
Hanging scroll; ink, color, gold, and mica on silk
205 x 151 cm

Source: Fenollosa-Weld Collection, Museum of fine art, Boston, USA.

Japan under the Shoguns | Galleries: Post 1850 Japan

America: Depiction of an American Ship and Portraits of the First Ambassador Perry and the Deputy Ambassador Adams

Shinsei (Japanese, 1850s)
Ink and colors on paper
H. 61.0 cm x W. 104.1 cm

Source: Bequest of Marshall Dill, Asian Art Museum Chong-Moon Lee Center for Asian Art and Culture, San Francisco, USA.

"The subject of this painting is probably the USS Powhatan, Commodore Matthew Perry's flagship on his second expedition to Japan in 1854. The previous year Perry had come to Japan, delivered a letter from President Millard Fillmore to the shogun's officials, and left, promising to return. Perry's 1854 expedition, larger than the first, comprised seven ships. Inset at the upper-left corner are portraits of Commodore Perry and his deputy, Henry Adams. The black-hulled American warships, particularly the steam frigates that puffed smoke "like dragons," frightened the Japanese and at the same time fascinated them, no ship more so than the Powhatan, which had been built in Norfolk, Virginia, in 1852. The artist Shinsei, about whom little is known, depicted the warship in typical Japanese style, with flat planes and fine details enhanced by decorative patterns of ocean waves and rising smoke." (Asian Art Museum Chong-Moon Lee Center for Asian Art and Culture, n.d.)

Illustration of Ladies Sewing (Kijo saihô no zu) 「貴女裁縫之図」

Adachi Ginkô (Japanese, 1853–1902)
Woodblock print (nishiki-e); ink, color, and silver on paper
Vertical ôban triptych; 36.5 x 75.6 cm

Source: Bigelow collection of Asian art, Museum of fine art, Boston, USA.

Picture of Steam Locomotive Trains in Tokyo

歌川芳虎画 「東京蒸気車之図」 木版画 明治時代前期

Artist: Utagawa Yoshitora (Japanese, active 1836 - 1866)

Date: approx. 1868-1875
Historical Period: Meiji period (1868-1912)
Object Name: Woodblock print; triptych
Materials: Ink and colors on paper
Dimensions: H. 36 cm x W. 24.8 cm Each

"After 1868 the Japanese government embarked on a program of rapid modernization intended to create an industrialized state on a par with those of Western powers. Improvements to the transportation network included the construction of a new railway line between Tokyo and Yokohama. Tens of thousands of spectators attended the inauguration of the new railway in the fall of 1872.

Demand for pictures of the new trains was high in the early 1870s. This woodblock-printed triptych features two steam locomotive trains near the newly constructed trestle bridge at Takanawa, in Tokyo's south end. Although most early rail passengers in Japan were Westerners, the artist playfully filled the two railway carriages at the right with Japanese women wearing elaborate hairstyles. Unfortunately, the beauties are at risk; their train appears headed for a collision with another coming from the opposite direction." (Asian Art Museum Chong-Moon Lee Center for Asian Art and Culture, n.d.)

Scenes of Singing Songs

Artist: Yoshu Chikanobu (Japanese, approx. 1838 - 1912)

Date: 1890-1900
Object Name: Triptych; Woodblock print
Materials: Ink and colors on paper
Dimensions: H. 13 3/8 in x W. 8 7/8 in, H. 34 cm x W. 22.5 cm (image)

Picture of a Steam Locomotive along the Yokohama Waterfront

Artist: Hiroshige III (1842-1894)
Ca. 1874

Format: Woodblock print Medium: Ink and color on paper
Dimensions: triptych: 36.7 x75 cm (14 7/16 x29 1/2 in.)

Source: Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

Illustration of the Ceremony Promulgating the Constitution (Kenpô happushiki no zu)

憲法發布式之圖

Artist Unknown, Japanese
Publisher: Ishijima Yae (Japanese)
Japanese, Meiji era1890 (Meiji 23)

Source: Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf Collection

© Mentone Girls' Grammar School | CRICOS provider 00324B