Exhibition themes
The works in the exhibition are gathered into themes.
Click a theme title to your right to view them.

The art of photography

Photography began to be established in Japan in the mid 1860s. Activity centred on the three ports of Yokohama, Hakodate and Nagasaki, which were opened up to foreign trade and residents by the trade treaty initiated by the 1853–54 visit of the US naval expedition under Commodore Perry. The photographic trade was further stimulated by the arrival of high numbers of tourists after the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869.

A unique genre of exquisitely hand-coloured photographs of views and portraits of Japanese costumes and customs was made popular in the 1870s in the studios of Felice Beato and Stillfried & Andersen. By the turn of the century, hand-coloured photographs by Japanese-owned studios were exported worldwide. The photographs were often sold in bound albums with elaborately decorated lacquered wood covers.