Encounters in Japan

Photos by Felice Beato and Giuseppe Grazioli's collections at the Buonconsiglio Castle

[ Comunicato stampa del Castello del Buonconsiglio]

The Subject / Japan

In the 1860s, Japan, which had recently open the its ports to trade with the West, was the last hope for finding silk worms unharmed by the disease that had destroyed world silk production. The intrepid travelers willing to reach that distant land encounter a new universe, a culture of iron rules and rituals of extreme elegance that will bewitch the entire West.

Swords, suits of armor, fans, umbrellas, screens, bronzes, lacquers, ceramics as well as paintings, woodcuts and the very recent photographs, everything is fashion, collection, precious furnishing of rich mansions, artistic and ethnographic testimony for public and private museums.

The exhibition

Through an important nucleus of photographs and Japanese art objects collected by Giuseppe Grazioli, the exhibition curated by Pietro Amadini and museum director Laura Dal Prà, recounts relationships and encounters of the Trentino priest in his travels to Japanese lands, including the one with Felice Beato, a famous pioneer of photography in Yokohama.

More than eighty works will be on display, including photos purchased in the docks, images of Japan and cartes de visite from Europe and the East in dialogue with paintings, prints and objects from the museum’s Asian collection.

The characters

Giuseppe Grazioli was a religious and agronomist from Trentino who traveled to Japan for five consecutive years in the mid-19th century in search of healthy silkworm eggs that could not be found in Europe after the virulent pebrina epidemic.

On the occasion of his travels he met numerous personalities, diplomats, Japanese merchants, fellow crossers including the already well-known Felice Beato one of the first Western photographers to take pictures in East Asia also known for his portraits, views and architectural and natural panoramas of Asia and the Mediterranean.

His many travels were the inspiration for creating powerful images of countries, people and events mostly unknown to most Europeans of the time. Also on display are works by Shimooka Renjō one of the first professional photographers in Japan.

Source: Castello del Buonconsiglio