The absorption and interpretation of Japanese images and techniques by Western artists and scientists are often related to the phenomenon of Japonism of the 19th and 20th centuries. However, three hundred years before the Meiji Restoration of 1868, the successful development of sea routes connecting the Eastern countries with Europe through the ports in the New World led to a substantial, though not as significant as that of the 19th century, influx of Japanese objects to Spanish colonies which is proved by the data of museum collections of the New and the Old World. Among them, of particular importance are painted folding screens (Spanish biombo) which, according to historical sources, were highly valued by the dwellers of Mexico City in the 17th century.
The author puts forward a hypothesis that the close interaction of different visual cultures reflected in the phenomenon of Japonism conditioned by an intensive cooperation of cultures in the late 19thcentury and globalisation in the 20th century, had appeared earlier. Analysis of the historical and artistic contexts demonstrates that it is possible to speak about the fact that the artists and public of 17th century New America were not only acquainted with the works of Japanese art but also about a phenomenon similar to the Japonism of the turn of the 20th century, i.e. the absorption of the principles and techniques of Japanese art by masters of the Spanish colonies of the 17th century and its influence on the formation of the peculiarities of the local artistic language.