The Battle of Lepanto and Map of the World

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Battle of Lepanto and Map of the World Folding Screen

Kosetsu Museum of Art

Color painting on six-panel screen
Early Edo Period
Important Cultural Property

The Battle of Lepanto was a naval conflict between the Holy League (a coalition of southern European Catholic states) and a fleet of ships from the Ottoman Empire that occurred in the Gulf of Corinth, off western Greece, in 1571. It was a historical event that commemorated the victory of the Christendom. The actual battle, however, did not take place on land, nor were there any elephant corps. This painting is comprised of various battle scenes taken from Western prints and book illustrations, which were rearranged and reshaped into a single picture.

The world map was based on a Caelius map from 1609 and is perhaps the most opulent and brilliant depiction of the world ever attempted on a screen.

Though the themes of the two screens differ, both works are united in their method of depicting the sea waves. These well-preserved paintings represent a style developed by Japanese painters after a close examination of Western painting in the early Edo Period.

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