Baltimore Wallpaper Archive: Pt 16

Wallpaper Archive

wallpaper 16

This one comes to us from a house in East Baltimore built in the late 1880s. It features a peaceful scene: cherry blossoms, a man wearing what looks to be a kasa, in a boat on a lake, a pagoda in the background. It might seem odd that a house in a bustling American metropolis would be pasted with pastoral depictions of what was then a world away, but this wallpaper was likely part of the Japonisme craze that took hold of Europe and the US during the late 19th century.
Until the Kanagawa Treaty of 1854, when the US effectively forced the Japanese into opening its ports, Japan had followed a strict, 220 year-old policy of seclusion. After the announcement of the treaty, Japanese decorative arts, flooded European and American markets. A fascination with all things Eastern led to widespread adoption of Japanese patterns for furniture, textiles, prints, and yes, wallpaper.