About the Exhibit

The three images - each from a different triptych - included on this page give a visual overview of the themes of Westernization and transition that run throughout this exhibit. The image on the left, from the work "Cherry-blossom Viewing", depicts a traditional scene of Tokugawa era noblewomen. The center image, from the work "Picture of the Japanese Imperial Line", shows the striking dichotomy between the traditionally-dressed emperors of the past seated behind Emperor Meiji in modern Western clothing. The image on the left, from the work "View of Komaba", depicts a fully westernized Japanese military force. While many of the works in this exhibit represent scenes from the pre-Meiji period, aspects of creeping Westernization are evident upon a closer look.

How the Exhibit is Organized:

Each page of this exhibit begins with the complete triptych displayed at the top. While each panel of a triptych is physically separate from the others, they are meant to be viewed together as a whole. For this reason, we have included this complete view of each of the triptychs included in this exhibit. Enlarged images of each triptych panel may be viewed further down on each exhibit page. 

The prints in this exhibit are organized chronologically beginning with “The Battle of Ichinotani in 1184” which was created between the years 1847-1852, and ending with “First Month: Oibane” from 1898. We have included an interactive timeline below which contains direct links to each work in the exhibit. To use the timeline, click and hold the purple “year” bar and drag your mouse left or right to move the timeline backward or forward through the years. 

Notes on Dating:

While the Gregorian Calendar is primarily used in this exhibit, some dates will be accompanied by their respective Japanese nengo, or year. Since the reign of the Emperor Kotoku in 645 CE, Japan has traditionally adopted a series of eras to mark particular periods, and each year has been known by when it has fallen within its era. For example, Emperor Meiji acceded to the throne in 1867, which was the third year of the Keio Era (or Keio 3). The Meiji Era was declared the following year (1868, which became known as Meiji 1), and continued until Meiji's death in 1912 (Meiji 45). It should be noted that since the Meiji Era, Japanese eras now strictly correspond to the reigns of each Emperor. As of the creation of this exhibit in 2021, the current year on the Japanese calendar is Reiwa 3.

Works included in this exhibit:

The digital images included on this website may not be reproduced for any reason without the express written consent of St. Catherine University. Artwork available for faculty/staff use. Please contact the Catherine G. Murphy Art Gallery Director, Nicole Watson, at (651) 690-6637.

About the Exhibit