Western Man Dressed in Japanese Clothing Expansion

Western Man Dressed in Japanese Clothing


GOSEDA, Horyu (attributed to)
五姓田 芳柳 (伝)
Life Dates
1827 - 1892
Technique, Material, Format
color on silk, hanging scroll 
119.4 x 51.1 cm
Inventory Number
Nihonga (Japanese-style Painting) 

A man is seen wearing a formal kimono in the style of an Edo Period (1603–1868) samurai. And yet his face is that of a foreigner. Mixing both Western and Japanese elements, the image is slightly disorienting. At the end of the Edo Period the port of Yokohama was opened for trade, prompting people and goods to pour in from abroad. The painter Goseda Horyu not only studied ukiyo-e and orthodox painting with the traditional Kano school, but he was also greatly interested in acquiring the techniques of Western painting. It is believed he was the first to develop a unique style of painting on the traditional material of silk, in which subjects wearing Edo Period clothing would be depicted in the style of a photographic portrait. However, many things remain unknown about his work, and so we can’t say that with certainty. What is known is that such paintings were popular as souvenirs for foreign visitors at the time. As such they were invariably taken abroad with their owners, meaning only a few now exist in Japan.

Page Top