ASIA212Varley

The yamato style had declined in early muromachi

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Unformatted text preview: maps of the Americas and the northern and northeastern regions of Asia, they appear to be respectably accurate. The world maps, moreover, make manifestly clear by the varying perspectives from which they were drawn Fig. 43 Namban (“southern barbarian”) screen showing the arrival of the Portuguese great ship at Nagasaki (Cleveland Museum of Art) 152 The Country Unified that the earth is round (although the Jesuits in their preaching refused to endorse the still heretical Copernican theory of earthly rotation around the sun). The most frivolous aspect of the craze for things Western in the 1590s was the aping by Japanese, including Hideyoshi himself, of the Portuguese style of dress and personal adornment. The degree to which these became fashionable can be seen in a letter written by a Jesuit father about this time: Quambacudono (i.e., the Kwambaku, Toyotomi Hideyoshi) has become so enamored of Portuguese dress and costume that he and his retainers frequently wear this apparel, as do all the other lords of Japan, even the gentiles, with rosaries of driftwood on the breast above all their clothing, and with a crucifix at their side, or hanging from the waist, and sometimes even with kerchiefs in their hands; some of them are so curious that they learn by rote the litanies of Pater Noster and Ave Maria and go along praying in the streets, not in mockery or scorn of the Christians, but simply for gallantry, or because they think it is a good thing and one which will help them to achieve prosperity in worldly things. In this way they order oval-shaped pendants to be made containing reliques of the images of Our Lord and Our Lady painted on glass at great cost.9 But none of the interests the Japanese displayed in namban culture and Portuguese styles was, as we shall see, able to stem the mounting tide of anti-Christian sentiment that led in the seventeenth century to severe persecutions and, finally, to the expulsion of foreigners and adoption of a national seclusion policy. Although the Dut...
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