PEACE: The Edo Period

This gallery will take you on a journey through Japan, a land of power, craft and culture, telling the story of how the country developed between 1600 and 1900 by unlocking its social, political and artistic past.  Our journey begins in the Edo Period (c.1600-1868) a peaceful period which followed many centuries of civil war.

Tokugawa Ieyasu, a powerful regional warlord (daimyo), was victorious at the Battle of Sekighara in 1600.  Within fifteen years he had defeated the last of his enemies and was in complete control, being appointed the supreme military ruler (shogun) of Japan in 1603 by the Emperor.  Under this military rule Kyoto remained the capital of the country, where the Emperor remained as a symbol of spiritual and cultural authority. Meanwhile the small fishing village of Edo, where the Tokugawa clan had their stronghold in Edo Castle, became the administrative capital and home of the shogun’s government (bakufu).

To establish control the shogun passed a series of rules to ensure that any military or religious threats were suppressed. These measures helped to maintain a strict social order and enabled the cultural and artistic development of the country.

Discover the objects in more detail:

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Top of case

Second shelf in case

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