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A Cabinet of Curiosity: an early English japanned cabinet in the collections of the NGV

Martin, Matthew and Cains, Carol (2015) A Cabinet of Curiosity: an early English japanned cabinet in the collections of the NGV. Art Journal of the National Gallery of Victoria, 53. pp. 46-59. ISSN 0066-7935

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Abstract

In 2004, the National Gallery of Victoria was gifted an early seventeenth-century cabinet decorated in a fashion which imitates Asian lacquer work. This cabinet appears to belong to a small but little understood group of early seventeenth century objects which represent the earliest known examples of imitation Asian lacquer (‘japanned work”) produced for European markets. A number of questions about this cabinet–and the larger group of objects of which it forms a part–have yet to be answered. The place of manufacture of the cabinet (Europe or Asia) remains in doubt, as do the sources and character of the cabinet’s scheme of painted decoration: connections may be drawn with European print sources, Chinese and Japanese lacquer and porcelain motifs, Indian textiles and ivory carving. These questions raise the larger issue of the place of hybrid Asian-European artistic productions in the Early Modern encounter between the two cultural spheres. Through an examination of this cabinet in the broader context of lacquer and furniture exported to Europe from Asia in the seventeenth century, we will explore the cultural space these hybrid works occupy and how they facilitate Early Modern European imaginings of Asia.

Item Type: Published Articles
Repository Version: Metadata Only
Keywords (separated by commas): Seventeenth-century furniture, japanning, lacquer, needlework, Chinoiserie, emblem literature
Fields of Research: 19 Studies in Creative Arts and Writing > 1901 Art Theory and Criticism > 190102 Art History
20 Language, Communication and Culture > 2002 Cultural Studies > 200202 Asian Cultural Studies
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 95 Cultural Understanding > 9505 Understanding Past Societies > 950504 Understanding Europe's Past
Type of Activity: Pure Basic Research
Subject Area(s): A - Humanities, general
Association with University of Divinity: YTU: Yarra Theological Union
Depositing User: Dr Matthew Martin
Date Deposited: 19 Jul 2016 12:55
Last Modified: 19 Jul 2016 12:55
URI: http://repository.divinity.edu.au/id/eprint/2103

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