China and Japan
Japanese Namban Screen
A detail from one of four large folding screens on display in the Museu de Arte Antiga in Lisbon. Namban was the word used to refer to Portuguese traders who, in this scene, are dressed in colorful pantaloons and accompanied by African slaves. Jesuits appear in black robes, while the Japanese observe the newcomers from inside their home. The screen materials included gold-covered copper and paper, tempera paint, silk, and lacquer.
This 1599 image of India by João Baptista, entitledDonzela casada, depicts a married Portuguese woman accompanied by other women and her Indian servant.
António Francisco Cardim
Cardim was a Portuguese Jesuit who worked in missions in India, China and Japan and died in Macau. He was named Procurador-Geral (Attorney General) of the Province of Japan and attempted to normalize relations between the Portuguese and Japanese following the massacre described in this report.
Simão de Oliveira
Simão de Oliveira was a mathematician and cosmographer. His Arte de navegar is a primer on cosmography and maritime travel, consisting of explanations of technical terminology and the instruments used in navigation. Books three and four in the volume describe the construction and uses of the astrolabe, the quadrant, and other navigational devices that enabled the Portuguese to establish their empire.
Fernão Mendes Pinto
Mendes Pinto’s account of his travels through the Middle and Far East have dazzled and drawn skepticism from centuries of readers. His is a marvelous story of a man who was shipwrecked and held captive countless times during his travels. He contends that he was among the first Westerners to visit Japan and was instrumental in initiating the period of Namban trade there. In Japan, he supported the founding of the first Christian church after forging a friendship with Francis Xavier, a Jesuit priest who was later canonized. Mendes Pinto entered the Jesuit order for a short period of time. He was critical of Portuguese imperialism and often described the Chinese as civilized compared to the Portuguese. This is one of the great pieces of historiography and travel literature written in the late 16th century.
Moraes’s love of Japan is evident in his multi-volume Cartas do Japão. His third and last volume covers numerous topics about daily life in the country and gives special attention to the customs of Japanese women. He also writes about Portugal’s centuries-long fascination with Japan.
Wenceslau de Moraes O culto do chá
Wenceslau de Moraes (1854-1929) was a Portuguese naval officer, teacher and writer who moved to Macau in 1895, where he married a Macanese and had two children. There he met the Portuguese poet Camilo Pessanha, who taught alongside him in a newly-created secondary school. Moraes abandoned his family in 1898 and moved to Japan, where he served as Consul of Kobe. He wrote numerous works about the country, including this detailed study of the history, culture and ritual of Japanese tea. He wrote: “Japanese tea, served invariably without milk or sugar, which ruin its aroma, is the most delicately agreeable beverage ever to be offered to our palates (not to everyone’s palate, mind you, but to a slightly dreamy, sentimental palate. . .).” The first edition was printed on rice paper in Kobe in 1905. The 2008 edition retains the illustrations of Japanese painter, Yoshiaki.
Loaned from the library of Darlene J. Sadlier
A Portuguese Embassy to Japan
Charles R. Boxer was a specialist on the Portuguese presence in Asia. His monumental work on China and Japan includes this first English translation of a little-known manuscript about one of many Portuguese diplomatic missions to Japan. This particular one was led by Captain Gonçalo de Siqueira de Souza. Boxer writes in his introduction: "It is not known who the author of the original [manuscript] was, but from several indications I infer that it was written or dictated by the Secretary of the Embassy, Duarte da Costa Homem, in 1648 or '49" (p. viii).