Modern Japanese Design

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Japanese Art and Design digitization project  44 Japanese design catalogs (雛形)and visual books from our collection are viewable.

神坂雪佳 Kamisaka Sekka's works: Kairo 海路 (1903)


Japan opened to the outside in 1868, following 250 years of isolation, and immediately embarked on a course of modernization. Export goods — including tea, silk and ceramics — were promoted as a means of earning foreign currency, and were well received outside.  There was enormous enthusiasm for Japanese art and culture in the late nineteenth century, in a trend called Japonisme. Many examples of Japanese pottery and other craft works from that and earlier periods found their way into European and North American museums. Visual catalogs presented here show patterns and designs of these crafts works including kimono textile, ceramics, lacquer wares.

Most of materials shown here are gifts once owned and bound by Earnest Goodrich Stillman (1884-1949), Harvard class of 1908. Stillman traveled to Japan in 1905 and collected Japanese art and books throughout his life. Many of his art objects and books are now held in Harvard’s libraries and museums.

Kimono Design

The Exquisite Patterns: Japanese Textile Design  The video showcases the British Library’s collection of kimono pattern and design books. It displays the variety and vibrancy of these works, from their origins in the mid-17th century until the early 20th century. Presented by Hamish Todd. Here is his blog post.