Detail from Kawasaki station, from Fifty-three Stations Along the Tokaido (Tokaido Gojusan-tsugi)
The Traveler's Eye: Scenes of Asia
November 22, 2014–May 31, 2015
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Washington USA
Travel shapes how we perceive the world. Long after a trip has ended, images made to guide, track, and represent travelers and their journeys continue to influence our views of other cultures and our own cultural identities. Featuring more than 100 works created over the past five centuries, The Traveler’s Eye: Scenes of Asia provides glimpses of travels across the Asian continent, from pilgrimages and research trips to expeditions for trade and tourism.
Juxtaposing East Asian scrolls, Japanese woodblock prints, and contemporary photography with maps, archaeological drawings, and souvenirs, The Traveler’s Eye invites viewers to look more closely at these seemingly straightforward images. Beneath the surface, they will discover the deliberate choices made by artists representing journeys and travelers seeking to remember them.
The exhibition moves through a provocative series of themes, ranging from Edo-period views of Japan’s famed Tokaido Road to Raghubir Singh’s photographic essay on the ubiquitous Ambassador car in India. All of the works shed light on particular cultural histories of travel throughout Asia.
The Traveler’s Eye concludes with three vignettes on Western travelers who recorded and remembered Asia during the last century: German archaeologist Ernst Herzfeld in central Asia, American collector (and museum founder) Charles Lang Freer in China, and the many travelers worldwide who shared memories with mass-produced, hand-colored postcards.