Archaeology through Art: Early Modern Japanese Ship Construction
Maritime trade and transport flourished during Japan’s early modern (Edo, 1603 – 1868) period, connecting the urban centers of Osaka and Edo with the farthest reaches of Hokkaido and Kyushu. The omnipresent nature and variety of styles of boats, from local ferries, to fishing vessels, to large trade ships are recorded diligently in hundreds of woodblock prints by numerous different artists. Careful analysis of the construction styles and contexts of these vessels in the prints, in conjunction with contemporary ships’ treatises, extant artifacts in museum collections, and ethnographic research suggests that shipwrights strove to create visually striking watercraft that were adapted to the waters they plied. This lecture will highlight some of the distinctive features of Japanese ship construction and explore the role that different vessels play in the early modern maritime cultural landscape.
AIA Lecture Series
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