152.0 x 369.0cm image; 152.0 x 370.2cm screen
The first Westerners to reach the shores of Japan were Portuguese seamen who, on route to their regular trading posts in South-east Asia, were blown off course in 1542. Subsequently the Portuguese established trading posts in Japan (initially in Nagasaki), and the arrival of these strange people with their odd clothes and seemingly invincible ships naturally caused immense curiosity among the Japanese. These new and unexpected arrivals were known as 'namban', 'southern barbarians', as they always arrived in Japan from the south. Their presence, and the Japanese fascination with these exotic commercial itinerants, gave rise to a whole artistic genre. This beautiful and atmospheric screen was originally one of a pair. It is an exceptional example of this relatively rare genre, combining the classic Japanese sensitivity to seasonal moods, and the abstract stylisation of the Japanese decorative instinct. The screen illustrates an ascending hierarchy from left to right; beginning with the group of three servants, one of whom is holding a dog on a leash. In the centre is a senior member of the ship's crew, and on the right the captain-major.
Art Gallery Handbook, 1999. pg. 270.
Revue des Arts Asiatiques 1938, 1938, 123-24 (illus.). plate no .45
Bruce James (Australia) (Author), Edmund Capon (England; Australia, b.1940) (Director), Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, Domain, 1999, 270 (colour illus.).
'Japanese Figure Painting: From the Public to the Personal' by Jackie Menzies, pg. 114-119., Orientations Sep 2000, Sep 2000, 114-115 (colour illus.). fig.1
'The World of Samurai Culture', The Asian Collections Art Gallery of New South Wales 2003, 2003, 216-217 (colour illus.). The colour illus. on page 217 is a detail of this work.
Art speaks Japanese: Japanese language education kit from the collection of the Art Gallery of New South Wales 2007, 2007, colour illus.. card no. 02
The art of Japanese screen painting, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 06 Nov 2004–06 Feb 2005.