Salon culture in Japan

making art, 1750-1900


This book is not yet published, but will be available from August 2024.

ISBN: 9780714124964 Category:


The first publication to celebrate the British Museum’s rich collection of these technically sophisticated artworks created as part of Japanese cultural salons in the late 18th and 19th centuries, featuring lively figures in daily life and festivals, elegant birds and flowers, ferocious animals and lyrical landscapes.

In early modern Japan, cultural salons were creative spaces for people of all ages and social levels to pursue painting, poetry and other artistic endeavours, as serious but amateur practitioners. They all used a pen- or art-name. Individuals were therefore able to socialise and interact broadly through these artistic activities, regardless of official social status as regulated by the shogunal government. The idea of communal and collaborative creativity seems to have been especially ingrained around the area of Kyoto and Osaka. Each of the two cities had a distinct character: Kyoto was the national capital, where the emperor and aristocrats resided, and Osaka was the centre of commerce.

Only a fraction of these technically sophisticated artworks has previously been published in colour. With five essays by leading experts that explore this fascinating cultural phenomenon from different angles, and eight shorter insights that delve into specific historical aspects and the personal connections and legacies of cultural figures, this book offers a new perspective on Japanese art and society in the late 18th and 19th centuries.

Additional information

Weight 300 g
Dimensions 25 x 25 cm
Publisher name The British Museum Press
Publication date 20 August 2024
Number of pages 224
Format Hardback
Contributors Edited by Akiko Yano
Dimensions 25 x 25 cm
Weight 300 g


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Principal contributors from the British Museum
Rosina Buckland, Curator, Japanese Collections
Timothy T. Clark, Honorary Research Fellow
Alfred Haft, JTI Project Curator for Japanese Collections
Akiko Yano, Mitsubishi Corporation Curator, Japanese Collections
with C. Andrew Gerstle, Professor Emeritus, SOAS University of London

Supporting contributors
Akama Ryo, Ritsumeikan University
Akeo Keizo, Osaka University of Commerce
Paul Berry, Kyoto University of Foreign Languages
Hirai Yoshinobu, National Museum
of Modern Art, Kyoto
Scott Johnson, Kansai University
Nakatani Nobuo, Kansai University
Ellis Tinios, Leeds University