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Guide To Japanese Historical Periods

Jomon Period

Japan Time Line Momoyama Period Muromachi Period Kamakura Period Heian Period Nara Period Asuka Period Kofun Period Yayoi Period Jomon Period

From This Period

Tobacco caddy
Tobacco caddy

Writing Box
Writing Box

The Courtesan Konosumi
The Courtesan Konosumi

See more objects from this dynasty

Edo Period


With the decisive battle of Sekigahara, Tokugawa Ieyasu effectively usurped control of the country. In 1603 he assumed the title of Shogun and established his seat of power in the small fishing village of Edo (modern-day Tokyo). The resumption of a stable government stimulated the Japanese economy and resulted in an unprecedented surge of artistic activity. In addition to several schools of painting, decorative arts such as ceramics, lacquer ware, textiles, and metalwork flourished as never before. Ukiyo-e, "pictures of the floating world," first emerged in the seventeenth century. This new art form was created for the urban townspeople, a new class of art patron with their own interests and tastes. Through mass-produced woodblock prints, inexpensive art works were available to everyone. At first, artists specialized in depicting famous Kabuki actors or the beautiful women of the licensed pleasure quarters, but by the 19th century they also produced designs featuring landscapes, legendary heroes, and nature studies.