American Export

Grits, Japanese Style?

The Daily Pic: Japan's old masters loved depicting corn – but who knows if they liked eating it.

08.22.13 9:35 PM ET

One final Japanese work, again from “In the Moment: Japanese Art from the Larry Ellison Collection”, at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco – because I couldn’t resist its surprising subject. It’s a screen made in 18th-century Japan, showing the corn stalks that had apparently become a favorite subject of Japanese artists. Corn was introduced to Japan by the Portuguese, less than a century after its discovery across the globe in the New World. Within another hundred years, it had found roots not only in the fields of Japan, but in its artistic culture. Talk about an invasive species.

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