Date: 22 November 2003, at 15.00
Place: Kobe University
Lecturer: Monden Sonoko (PhD Candidate, Kyoto University)
Theme: ‘Nikko Temple Room’ by Yamanaka & Co.: How the Style of Western Furniture and Interiors were Created in Meiji Era?
Yamanaka & Co., Meiji Western Furniture, Nikko Temple Room, Japanese Style, Japanese Art History, 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair, Compromise between East and West
This research investigates ‘Nikko Temple Room’ exhibited by Yamanaka & Co. in 1904 the St. Louis World’s Fair. As one of the earliest Japanese retailers of oriental arts and crafts with shops abroad, the company concerned with making Western furniture for export. ‘Nikko Temple Room’ was the display with the style of compromise between East and West. Though each piece of furniture was come from Rococo, Victorian, Renaissance sources, each motif was related to Japanese temple and shrine. This derives us to questions why names such as ‘Horyuji Style’ and ‘Byodoin Style’ were used for Western furniture, and displayed inside the space called ‘Nikko’.
In those days, ‘Japanese Style’ had been searched for furniture and interior designs. It was produced by referring to Japanese Art History and ‘National Treasures’ which had been started to certify in 1897. My concern is to consider ‘Nikko Temple Room’ as one of the typical examples of ‘Japanese Style’ sought by Japanese artists and historians.
Such compromise between Japanese and Western styles since late Meiji period had been appeared in interior and furniture design with the rise of nationalism. Yamanaka’s display shows how national image was visualized in the era of the early twentieth century.