The Culture of Early Modern Salons
This chapter investigates the rising importance of salons within the cultural communities of eighteenth and nineteenth centuries Japan. Most rangaku enthusiasts could also be categorized as bunjin (literati), who had broad cultural and scholarly interests, and often belonged to several diverse salon groups. This chapter explores their interaction within rooms called zashiki, roughly equivalent to contemporary European salons. It looks at the decorative history of salons and relates that to their growing significance as cultural-interactive spaces. Rangaku scholars used salons as performative sites where they positioned themselves within cultural network and asserted various forms of legitimacy and authority. This chapter investigates these motivations by examining the Oranda beya (Dutch room) of interpreter Yoshio Kōzaemon in Nagasaki and the Dutch New Year’s celebrations of Ōtsuki Gentaku in Edo.
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