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Q: Mutual perceptions of Europe and Asia via portraits ( Answered 4 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: Mutual perceptions of Europe and Asia via portraits
Category: Arts and Entertainment > Visual Arts
Asked by: wiggly-ga
List Price: $150.00
Posted: 25 Aug 2003 12:14 PDT
Expires: 24 Sep 2003 12:14 PDT
Question ID: 248598
I'm looking for images, slides or scannable or (ideally) downloadable
portraits (any medium - painting, drawing, print, photograph, etc.)
with the following characteristics: the portraits, past or present,
must be either of Asian individuals where there is some kind of
European element (clothing, activity, decor, architecture, scenery) in
the background, or of European individuals likewise against some Asian
background. Klimt's portrait of Elizabeth Bachofen Echt or Van Gogh's
of Pere Tangy are good examples of the latter, but I need more. Asians
in European settings (i.e., either in Europe or against a background
evoking Europe or Europeanness - no matter whether accurately or via
stereotypes) are harder to come by. Above all I need typical or
influential examples, which might include family photographs or
portraits and also mass imagery from posters or advertisements.  The
touchstone is that the images will have contributed to familiarising
Europeans with Asia and Asians with Europe.
A further category of images I am seeking, again in any medium, are
those showing Asians looking at portraits and Europeans doing likewise
- including Asians looking at European portraits and Europeans looking
at Asian ones.

By "Asia" is meant any part of the continent but especially E and SE
Asia; by "Europe" is meant any part of Europe west of the Urals but at
a pinch N America and Australasia or Southern Africa where there was
significant European settlement.
Subject: Re: Mutual perceptions of Europe and Asia via portraits
Answered By: digsalot-ga on 28 Aug 2003 01:35 PDT
Rated:4 out of 5 stars
Hello there

Since you said "past or present" and "any medium" I will try to cover
as many eras and areas as possible.  I am also glad you suggested
using North America in a "pinch."  The reason being the sheer number
of Asian-American family and historic photos from the early years of
immigration available - more so than a similar situation in Europe for
the time period covered.  However, because of the European inclination
of the question, I will use them as sparingly as possible.

Needless to say, there will be links to all kinds of web sites where
portraits and photos may be found.  I hope you like variety.  You also
understand that the concept of what constitutes a "portrait" may vary
between European and Asian standards.  I will define 'background' in
the classic manner as any feature of the portrait other than face and

Here is a series of Chinese posters from the 1920s which are mostly
advertising for European style products.  Mass produced portrait like
images.  Some will feature western dress in an Asian setting and some
reverse.  Note the product display in many of them.  Since the website
is in French and I don't know if you read French (I don't), I will
break it down picture by picture.  These images are from "Centre de
design de l'Université du Québec à Montréal
Collection Marc Choko"   All are portrait style with one or two

This is an ad for "Umbrella Soap" women in 1920s western garb in an
Asian setting

Image is of Asian woman in Asian setting.  Clothing style is a hybrid
of Asian and western 'peasant' design.  Note the high heeled pointed
toe shoes and product display at bottom.  The ad is for Du Pont.

In this ad, both the furniture and clothing are western

This great ad for the Williams Candy Co. touts a product called
"Purge." - Classic image, western dress.

A shoe ad.  Mixed clothing style, Euro style background including
gothic style building and tennis players.

Asian dress surrounded by a plethora of western "style" cosmetic
items.  Building in background has Euro flavor.

An Eveready battery ad.  Classic Asian portrait and background
surrounded by flashlights and batteries.

Asian dress but in a Euro style house

Shoe ad - Hybrid dress, Euro/western style shoes

Bathing beauty

Cigarette ad - Rat brand

MIxed dress, airplanes in background

Another with aircraft in background, western aviation dress

Four different images - cigarette ads

western dress, western furniture

There are several in this series I did not use as I didn't know if the
cultural contrast would be strong enough.  You can check them out if
you wish here:


 A contemporary western artist views Japanese in modern western dress
and from the 19th century we see concepts of how Europeans were viewed
in a series of paintings by Japanese artists of European subjects and
more.  Clothing will be the most common of the 'props' found in most
all of this.

Here you will find a remarkable series of paintings of Japanese,
mostly in modern western dress, done by Angela Ursillo.  Beautiful.

This remarkable page is a collection of portraits of Dutch Europeans
done by Japanese artists in the 17th through mid 19th centuries.

Here is a similar page dealing with Japanese painted portraits of
other Europeans and Americans  from 1850 on through the end of the
19th century.

For both of the above webpages, the prints are in the collection of
the Netherlands Economic History Archive (NEHA), which is housed in
the International Institute of Social History (IISH) in Amsterdam.

This is a painting of a Dutch couple from 19th century Japan. 
However, even though the clothing is European, the "Dutch" are given
oriental features.  Click on the image to enlarge.
- From Barewalls Art Prints and Posters Online

First Committee Straits Chinese British Association - Chinese in
European garb and Chinese in Chinese garb in front of a European style
building. -

Chinese man in turn of the century European style formal attire
including sword:
- website of

Japanese Portrait Painting of a Western Woman - meiji period - late
19th century - An example of a European with Asian dress and Asian
background imagry. -
Please check out the link to the portraits of Mr. amd Mrs. Walker at
the bottom of the page to access two more portraits of Europeans in
Asian dress and background.  "These painting were probably painted in
Yokohama using pre-painted figures in both men's and women's Japanese
costume. The faces were painted in to complete the portrait. These
paintings are very well painted with excellent detail." - quote from
"Japanese Art and Western Influence"

This is a small image but one of Asian (Chinese) men in an English
setting.  About two thirds down the page.
"Seamen unloading tea in London in the nineteenth century. The first
Chinese communities in Britain were formed by seafarers." - Chinese
laborers in an English port."  The Chinese wear traditional style but
notice the European style in the background. - From "Immigrants
Past and Present"

The photo of the Geisha on the right has a European style painted
landscape background rather than a traditional Japanese painting.  The
European influence here being landscape painting style. - From Sakura-do photography sales

Photo of man with his bicycle. From same website as above.  European
clothing, European style painted background. photo from 1901.

Photo of an officer adorned with medals, presumably a veteran of the
Russo-Japan War.  - another from same website - Officer wears European
style uniform rather than traditional Japanese style.

In the top photo, family portrait in traditional Japanese dress but
props in photo are a pedestal along classic "Greek" lines with
furniture and table drapery classic Victorian.

This page displays several photos of European and western influenced
sports costume in Japan from 1900 to 1925.

While we are talking about sports costume:

We can continue with sports where European influenced fashion
dominates in Asia. All are portrait mode.

These would also fall under the "mass imagery" heading. 

Ice skaters to begin with:
- Yunfei LI
- Daisuke Takahashi
- Kensuke NKANIWA -
Min Zhan
- Takeshi HONDA
- Fumie SUGURI
- Shizuka ARAKAWA
- Yukari NAKANO -
Xue Shen / Hongbo Zhao

All photos above by "Moon" - main webpage if you seek permission to
use them

This website has many pages of Asians in western garb from formal to
swimsuits.  Click in the upper right corner for male Chinese stars.
Dozens of pictures.  All are portrait mode. -

Late 1940s fashion shot of Japanese woman in European/American style
posed in front of building in western architectural style. - another photo from Sakura-do

The next five listings are not "Portraits" per se.  However, I thought
they may add something to the general category because of the subject

Poster - "Book and Pencils for Children's Day" - Adults in
semi-traditional garb, child in western style shorts and shirt.
Website of Barnes and Noble

Poster - "Building a Toy House" - Asian children in western dress
Website of Barnes and Noble

Poster - "Buying a Table" - Mix of Asian and western dress with
European/western style furniture
website of Barnes and Noble

Poster - "Celebrating the New Year" - traditional East Asian
celebration with children in western style dress
Website of Barnes and Noble

Poster - "Children's Day Evening Parade" - Asian children in western
dress carrying oriental lanterns
Website of Barnes and Noble

Emperor Taisho (Yoshihito) in European style military uniform and
photo setting.

Another of the emperor in European style military uniform

Here you will have to scroll to near the bottom of the page to find
two images from the Meiji Restoration.  The first is another emperor
in western style uniform but the best of the two is the one right
beneath it, called Meiji Enlightenment.  It is the portrait of a
couple playing piano and flute dressed in European high style but in
an oriental setting.  A rather small image but a historically
important one.
This and the image right above are from the Virtual Museum of Japanese

This next series of images and the quotes associated with them are
from New York University

"First introduced at mission schools in the Taisho era, Western-style
clothing was adopted at public schools as the uniform for female
students. It eased travelling to school and engaging in sports
activities, and curbed the tendency towards flashy dress. The sailor
uniform, the most typical schoolgirl style, persists to this day."

"1883 marked the opening of the Rokumeikan, an elegant Italianate
building designed for official government functions as well as balls
and receptions. There society’s upper crust-wives garbed in Western
dress included-mingled and met foreign dignitaries. This upper-class
woman poses in daytime dress, complete with imported fan and gloves."

"In 1885, at the suggestion of the Japanese army surgeon general,
beaches were opened to the public for the first time in order to
promote physical fitness. Swimsuits appeared around 1897. Made of
cotton-knit fabric, they were nicknamed shimauama, which means zebra,
after their stripes. This style remained popular until the end of the
Taisho era (1912-1926)."

"This woman wears her hair in the hisashigami style, which developed
in parallel to the American Gibson Girl look and was popular in most
social classes until the end of the Taisho. In the 1890s, the early
days of the style-which was achieved by inserting a hairpiece-the
front and sides were not as pronounced, but they gradually became more
flamboyant. Most importantly, the hisashigami style liberated women
from the laborious efforts required for traditional Japanese hairdos."
- You will also notice the Euro style blouse she is wearing.

"This young woman sports the trendy mimikakushi-literally
"covering-the-ears"-hairstyle of the 1920s. After gaining popularity
in the U.S., the style hit the shores of Japan in 1922 and soon became
a classic. Until this time, Japanese hairstyles had been relatively
unaffected by world trends."

"The early Showa period (1926-1988) saw the emergence of a new type of
Japanese woman, the modern girl, called moga in Japanese. With their
short hair and Western-style clothes-often seen in the Ginza-moga were
Japanese counterparts of American flappers. At first, this style of
dress was limited to public wear, as is the case here."

"As more Japanese women entered the workforce, Western-style clothes
became the norm for businesswomen. Hemlines, which had, like those in
the West, dropped nearly to the ankle in 1930, rose again, becoming
the highest ever in 1937."

From the 1850s onwards, objects from Japan flowed into the west and
attracted the attention of both artists and collectors. The Paris
Exposition Universelle of 1867 brought an influx of more things
Japanese, as well as Japanese visitors to the city. The term
"japonisme" was coined in 1872 by Philippe Burty, a French art critic,
to describe what was essentially a new field of study - the influence
of Japanese style on French art.  You are already familiar with it in
the works of Van Gogh.

Here is the painting "Two Ladies in the Garden" by Tissot - note the
Tori gate to the real left even though the setting is European.
To access this painting, scroll about 20% down the page.  The
click-to-enlarge image is on the left.

This etching by Tissot is called "The Hammock" - you will find asian
props such as the Japanese umbrella and more.

This Tissot painting is of a nude in front of Japanese soji screens

At the very bottom of this page, you will find a painting by Renoir. 
Notice the Asian wall covering behind the subjects.

"Comtesse d’Yanville and Her Four Children" - Another painting by
Tissot - notice the Chinese wall covering in the background
This image also has a zoom feature so you can look at it in detail.
From  Minneapolis Institute of Arts

"Mrs Newton with a Parasol" - Tissot - The parasol is Japanese, Mrs
Newton is in Victorian dress.
From Art Magick

"The Bunch of Lilacs" - Tissot - portrait of a woman with a large
Chinese lantern or bird cage in the background. 
From Art Magick

"Young Ladies Looking at Japanese Objects" - Tissot - self explanatory
From Art Magick

"Young Lady Holding Japanese Objects" - Tissot - His interpretation of
a Japanese lady.
From Art Magick

woodblock print by Nobukazu titled "Kouj Gokekkonshiki" from the
"Eight Scenes of Modern Tokyo" series circa. 1900 and showing the
marriage of Emperor Taisho.  - - The uniforms and clothing are
European but the setting is Japanese.
From the Japanese Sword Store

Emperor Hirohito in full European style regalia

We may have to stretch a bit to make this a "portrait."  Picture of
traditionally dressed Japanese girls with modern short hair and a
telescope as symbol of western science.

Painting of two Japanese couples in western dress, Meiji era.
From Oswego City School District Regents Exam Prep Center

Japanese emperor in European regalia
From City University New York

An Englishman in Japanese garb.  "Josiah Conder helped build the
public facade of Meiji Japan."
Conder in kimono with haori and hakama
From "East" magazine

Toyohara Chikanobu: A Mirror of Japanese Nobility (1887) - Family
portrait, Japanese nobility, European dress, Asian setting
From Culture

Group of ladies in western dress 1880s
From Culture

Photo of Japanese man 1880

The seven wise men of Saga, who created modern Japan. A mix of
Japanese and European dress in this assembly of portraits.

Portrait of a Chinese Gentlemen Courtesy of Dennis O'Hoy Golden Dragon
Museum Showing Face Exhibition - European style clothig and bicycle.

Chinese youth in traditional garb with Victorian furnishings including
neo-Greek vase.
From University of Washington

European in front of Japanese background
Palomar College

Sun Yat Sen - Father of modern China - western wear
Large graphic, slow to load
Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Hawaii Foundation

Family photo portrait
Western garb and painted background
University of Toronto

Chinese Musician - traditional garb, very contemporary European

Portrait Chinese cook holding caucasion child and painted
Euro/American background

Family portrait - both traditional and western garb, western setting

Asian man western garb - contemporary painting with microphines,
strawberries and a ???? little dog

Not the happiest of images.  Two chinese women with volkswagon.  You
will see what I mean.  western style dress and the car.
From women century

Young chinese man, western dress

Early portrait of Chinese man in western dress

Chinese mother and children - note painted background and clock on

Part of"The Courtesan" by Vincent Van Gogh recreated by Ashley Perkins

Japanese couple - bride in traditional attire - groom in formal
European attire

Group portrait - mixed garb - note western style military uniform and
far right front row, a man in western style suit.

Japanese officer western style uniform

Self-Portrait with a Japanese Print - Van Gogh

Portrait of Père Tanguy - Van Gogh - I know you mentioned it, but just
in case, here it is again

Leon Wyczolkowski, "Portrait of Feliks Jasienski", 1911, pastel -
wearing Chinese robe
University of Michigan

Kaori Yamamoto is creating a self portrait entitled 'Room of Love'
based on the theme of love hotels. - western garb and furnishings

Portrait of St. Francis Xavier, painted by an unknown Japanese artist

Self portrait of looking at a portrait with Japanese elements in the
background including another self portrait in Japanese robes. 
Confused enough yet? - art work
by Orr Marshall

"Assorted Elegant Beauties of the Present Age" - another art work by
Orr Marshall - notice the western city skyline in background.  I
realize it could be a modern Japanese city skyline as well as European
or American.  But I thought the mix of "traditional" and "western"
quite interesting

Early Japanese family portrait - western dress

Yoichi and Tsuki Hironaka taken on their wedding day April 10, 1913 -
This is in Canada rather than Europe - western dress.  From this page
you can access several other photos of this couple.  One is the one

Saionji Kimmochi, (1849-1940), Japanese Representative at WWI Paris
Peace Conference, Portrait: 1919 - western dress

This next group of pictures is from University of California, Berkeley

Chinese family portrait, mixed clothing style

Chinese man pulling rickshaw - passenger is caucasian

Fong Wing - chinese man -western clothing

Chinese family portrait - mixed dress - western background

Chinese family portrait - mixed dress - western background

This next section  is of Communist era posters.  I wouldn't know
whether to call them European/Chinese hybrids or not.  Much of the
dress is influenced by western style but has that "Maoist" overtone. 
I am including a few of them, just in case. - If you
want to check others. - - From Centre de design de l'Université du
Québec à Montréal Collection Marc Choko

Portrait of Policeman and child - western dress

Group style portrait, western style dress asian background

Portrait of two girls.  note western style products on display for

European stereotypes of Chinese dress - group portrait -  "The Feast
of Lanterns" - not an Asian face in the bunch and look what passes for
Chinese costume?

This picture is American rather than European but the stereotyping
could be indicitive of either continent.

This has a little bit of everything in it - I think it would classify
as a mass produced bit of "pop-portraiture"

In this series of images, look in the background of the top one and
you will find an early Dutchman.

It was a very interesting search.

Since you said Asians in European/Western settings were harder to come
by, I concentrated mostly on those with examples of the other things
you wanted added in.

If I may clarify any of the above, please ask

wiggly-ga rated this answer:4 out of 5 stars
this is a very enterprising and helpful answer, well worth the
investment.  Many thanks

There are no comments at this time.

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