VIRTUAL COLLECTION OF ASIAN MASTERPIECES

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Mirror from Vietnam, owned by lady Araki Sotaro
NMHC_Fi0021
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Why this is a
Masterpiece

As a pure witness revealing the bond between Vietnam and Japan in the early modern period, this mirror should inevitably be called a masterpiece of the international exchanges of both countries. Ryuji HIRAOKA and Kenji KUBO, curator, Nagasaki.

History of the Object
Araki Sotaro (?-1636) was a Red Seal ship trader who played an active role from the late 16th century to the early 17th century Nagasaki. He was originally from Higo (present-day Kumamoto prefecture) and immigrated to Nagasaki in 1588. Sotaro himself went on board his Red Seal ship to An’nan (present-day Vietnam) and got credence from the Ruan family, a high place bureaucrat in An’nan kingdom and the cognate of the king. He finally took a wife, Wakaku (usually known as Mrs. Anio in Nagasaki), from the family. This European mirror was brought by Wakaku-tome from Vietnam to Nagasaki as one of her bridal possessions. This mirror descended from the Araki family and was donated to Nagasaki prefecture in 1966. The miniature shrine, in which the mirror is invaginated and on whose surface is seen the gold-lacquered crane and tortoise, was made in Japan. Nagasaki Museum of History and Culture also possesses a scroll which is a Japanese translation, by the heir of Sotaro, of the letter from the Ruan family. The tombstone of Sotaro and his wife is still preserved as a cultural property of Nagasaki city, in Daion-ji temple.

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Type
Decorative Art 
Materials
Mirror 
Measurements
41.7cm × 37.1cm 
Creator name
Unknown 
Creator date
Unknown 
Where it was made
Japan and Europe 
Geography
Japan 
Time period
AD 16th century ~ AD 17th century 
Creation date
16th Century -17th Century 
Function
 
Acquisition
This mirror was donated by the Araki family. It descended from its original owner, Araki Sotaro, to Nagasaki Prefecture in 1966 and was preserved in Nagasaki Prefectural Art Museum. Since 2005, it has been kept by Nagasaki Museum of History and Culture. 
Copyright
 
Acknowledgements
 
Owner
Nagasaki Prefecture, Japan 
Museum
Nagasaki Museum of History and Culture 
Credit line
Nagasaki Museum of History and Culture, Nagasaki, Japan 

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