Map of Nagasaki, 1750, by Guillaume Dheulland

Map of Nagasaki, 1750, by Guillaume Dheulland

Japanese world map, early XIXth century (from the Library of Congress). Quite remarkable is the exaggerated size of Japan, in the center of the map; also, the illustrated guide to foreign people that accompanies the map. I’m curious about the legend, since I don’t read Japanese.

Japanese world map, early XIXth century (from the Library of Congress). Quite remarkable is the exaggerated size of Japan, in the center of the map; also, the illustrated guide to foreign people that accompanies the map. I’m curious about the legend, since I don’t read Japanese.

The French, as seen by the Japanese in 1861. (Extract from Bankoku jinbutsu no uchi, a series of woodcuts by Utagawa Yoshitora.)

The French, as seen by the Japanese in 1861. (Extract from Bankoku jinbutsu no uchi, a series of woodcuts by Utagawa Yoshitora.)

Japanese subway poster, from the retronaut

The most alien feature of this poster, to European eyes, is that Mary’s clothes are red. In Europe, Mary wears blue, always, without exceptions; actually blue has even be defined for a long time as the color of Mary, as outlined by Michel Pastoureau in his magnificent book, Blue.

Now the question is, why did the Japanese artist chose red?

Japanese subway poster, from the retronaut

The most alien feature of this poster, to European eyes, is that Mary’s clothes are red. In Europe, Mary wears blue, always, without exceptions; actually blue has even be defined for a long time as the color of Mary, as outlined by Michel Pastoureau in his magnificent book, Blue.

Now the question is, why did the Japanese artist chose red?

A new and accurate map of the Empire of Japan. Laid down from the memoirs of the Portuguese and Dutch; and particularly from the Jesuit Missionaries, as publish’d by the Sr. Bellin at Paris. 1747.

A new and accurate map of the Empire of Japan. Laid down from the memoirs of the Portuguese and Dutch; and particularly from the Jesuit Missionaries, as publish’d by the Sr. Bellin at Paris. 1747.