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

7 October – 11 November 2020

‘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?