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Nicholas de Larmessin I (1632-94)

Xogun, Empereur du Iapon circa

Etching and engraving | 24.2 x 16.7 cm (sheet of paper) | RCIN 618824

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This portrait conflates Japan’s military ruler, Shōgun Tokugawa Ietsuna (1641–80), with the emperor. It is almost entirely a work of European imagination, featuring a Middle Eastern-style turban and ornaments derived from costume books or prints of other ‘exotic’ lands. Few foreigners had seen the shōgun’s face at this date – but the urge to represent him demonstrates the allure of this inaccessible country.