Orientalism, Chinoiserie & Japonism: The Western View Of Asian Arts

7 October – 11 November 2020
Wednesdays 10.45am (for 11.00am start) - 12.00pm

LIVE sessions online. Recordings will not be available (full details on acceptance of booking)

Suzanne Perrin
Full course (6 sessions) £200.00
Single lecture £40.00

Book your place now on Orientalism, Chinoiserie & Japonism: The Western View Of Asian Arts

“Delightful course. Enjoyed this very knowledgeable lecturer. Good handouts, perfect power point presentation and very good choice of slides and captions. Interesting choice of Japan subjects to follow up”
“I really enjoyed this course. I feel I have learned a lot about Japan, its past and future and how much it was influenced by the west”

‘Orientalism’ was a generic term denoting ‘exoticism’, but what does it mean, and where does it come from? Often it was confused with ‘Chinoiserie’ and ‘Japonism’, although these have more specific locations. To unravel the differences between the concepts of these three very different ideologies we need to explore the terminology that gave rise to their style and characteristics, and how they were interpreted and exploited by the traders, rulers and artists who dealt with them. It is also relevant to look at how the West came to be in East Asia, specifically in the Middle East, India, China and Japan, to see how the origins of Colonial culture shaped the relationships with these countries, and how trade and ideas were exchanged with them during the 17th to 19th centuries. As developments came about in the 20th century, we still see the legacy of these influences today; so can we now distinguish their origins?

Le Jardin Chinois, François Boucher
photo by S. Perrin
photo by S. Perrin
photo by S. Perrin
photo by S. Perrin

Course outline

Orientalism 1

East and West – where does it begin?
Where is the Orient? How do we recognise it? What does it mean?
Oriental visions, perceptions and obsessions, the Grand Tour
Cultural borrowing and the quest for The Other.

Orientalism 2

Colonial Culture & its Trade 17th -19th centuries
The East India Trading Co. The Great Exhibitions
The British, the French and the Dutch
How the East was presented to the West


Regency Culture: cultivating a new stylistic language
Chinese decorative arts and export trade fill European palaces
Exoticism comes to the home: textiles, silks, furniture, ceramics
The Company ends its reign of trade

Japonism 1

Japan & the West in 17th -19th centuries
The VOC Dutch Eastern Trading Co. and Japan
The Dejima trading post and its visitors
Japan opens to the West

Japonism 2

Exchange of East-West trade with Japan
British writers and artists in Japan
Japanese scholars and artists go to the West
Cultural borrowing and the quest for The Other

Japonism 3

Meiji period brings dynamic change, losing traditions, gaining opportunities and freedoms
Japan and the West trade off benefits
Japanese arts inspire western culture and artists in new directions