Japanese Design in Wall Covering

by | Sep 22, 2014 | Home and Garden

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Consumer interest in wall covering with Japanese or Asian illustrations or inspired motifs in the 19th century reflected the burgeoning interest in ‘Japanoise’ culture found in popular literary accounts like Richard Hildreth’s (1855) Japan As It Was and Is. Influenced by the stories of Early Modern Europe, the historical legacies of Marco Polo and other Western voyagers were told by way of an imaginary world of adventure.

The Influence of the Far East

The mutually recursive relationship between the West and Japan is much discussed within contemporary scholarship in the translation of Oriental design in the Modern Era. A renewed interest in Asia and particularly Japan in this period prefaces the birth of Europeans developing a growing interest in travel to the Orient. The articulation of Japanese culture within the imaginary of the interior design field emerged as techniques for replicating Far Eastern products were being refined. Textiles and other decorative arts imported from the region influenced the manufacturing of specialty decorative products.

How Japan became a trope within European culture by way of translation from the literary realm to the marketplace in the late 19th and early 20th century, is captioned in the storytelling influence of Japanese illustrative cartooning in popular press. The evolution of this plane of ‘feminine’ or ‘soft’ aesthetic offered resource to Impressionism and appropriations in decorative art.

The employment of spatial composition derived from Japanese woodcuts by Eduard Manet incited exhibition goers who were responsive to the presence of Japanese aesthetics as distinctly Modern in sentiment. Art connoisseurs sought the commission of portraiture adorned by Japanese textiles and luxury fashion products au currant in the marketplace. Claude Monet’s (1876) La Japonaise offered a third term by which elite class could be rearticulated outside of Europe, and then reintegrated through the leisure pursuits of middle class audiences.

In Europe Japan had become an inextricable element within art and culture, and by its very essence a ‘civilizing’ artefact of Europe itself. Simultaneous to the cosmopolitan Impressionist Europe the urbanization of Japan and the emergence of a market open to Westernization and international trade followed the ascension of Emperor Meiji in 1867. Never again were the two cultures and their decorative markets to be separated.

Contemporary Japanese Influences

Architects and artists influenced by Japanese art such as Camille Pissarro, Mary Cassatt, Edouard Manet, Claude Monet, Paul Gauguin, Frank Lloyd Wright, Edmond Lachenal, and Taxile Doat set the pace for late 20th century to early 21th century interior design. Taking from post-modern influences produced in mass during the rise of Japan as a global economic power in the 1980s, Japanese wall covering décor continues to be highly sought after. Discover the magic of Japanese wall covering.

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