Travelling and Exoticism
Trade and cultural interaction
The transaction of goods on a larger geographic scale put many different cultures in contact with each other.
Trade linked different regions of Europe by land and by sea, engaging merchants, bankers and many other agents in the commissioning, production and export of products, among which, the fine and applied arts and books were but a part.
Outside the boundaries of Europe, the transaction of goods on a larger geographic scale put many different cultures in contact with each other. The Portuguese acted in Asia as privileged intermediaries, and the other European courts soon had their assets looked after by chosen representatives. The impact of trade can be seen in the commission of objects from all over Europe.
Namban Folding Screen (Namban Byobu)

c.1593–1600
Azuchi-Momoyama period
National Museum of Ancient Art
Lisbon, Portugal
Attributed to Kano Domi (known as Pedro Kano Gennosuke after his conversion to Christianity, born in Kyoto)
Colour (tempera) on paper and gold leaf on silk; lacquered frame and metal
Around 1543 the Portuguese (or as they were known, the Namban-jin) arrived in Japan, and so began a period of rich cultural exchange. This pair of byobu, made by Japanese artists, is a unique visual document of the presence of the Namban-jin in Japan. Portuguese traders and the Japanese exemplify the cultural encounters seen in this procession, or Namban Gyoretsu, which is passing a Japanese street observed by curious inhabitants.