Skip to content

Collection

All

Search

Asian art

View More:


Title

Merrymaking in the Yoshiwara


Artist

Unknown

Japan


About

This rare and exquisitely painted screen, full of detail and sensitive observation, illustrates the elite at play in the pleasure quarters. It is an early example of the distinctive 'ukiyo-e' tradition. The term 'ukiyo-e', literally translated as the 'floating world', was originally a Buddhist expression used to describe the sadly irrelevant and transient nature of the material world and our life on earth. By the seventeenth century Japan's medieval samurai-based culture was being superseded by a newly emergent mercantile class. 'Ukiyo-e' came to define a whole tradition inspired by the colourful lives and times enjoyed by these townspeople, 'chônin', in the pleasure quarters and entertainment districts. Here, in a series of enchanting vignettes, the picture of the pleasure quarters unfolds: the activities of drinking, taking tea, playing games, listening to music, reading and chatting are all illustrated.

Art Gallery Handbook, 1999. pg. 275.


Details


Other Title

Merrymaking in the garden


Place where the work was made

Japan


Date

mid 17th century


Media category

Painting


Materials used

single six-fold screen; colour and gold leaf on paper


Dimensions

74.0 x 201.4 cm image; 87.2 x 214.4 cm screen


Signature & date

Not signed. Not dated.


Credit

Purchased 1986


Location

Not on display


Accession number

41.1986


Artist information

Unknown

Works in the collection

36


Place

Where the work was made
Japan

Shown in 4 exhibitions

Exhibition history


Referenced in 8 publications

Bibliography


AJIOKA Chiaki (Curator), Heroes and villains: from Japan's floating world, Sydney, May 2001, 7. cat.no. 3.1

Gary Hickey, Beauty & desire in Edo period Japan, 'Low City, High City', pg. 7-12, Parkes, 1998, 8 (colour illus.), 70. fig.no. 2

Bruce James, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'Asian Collection: East Asia', pg. 246-287, Sydney, 1999, 275 (colour illus.).

Jackie Menzies, The Art Gallery of New South Wales collections, 'Asian Art - India, South-East Asia, China, Tibet, Korea, Japan', pg. 173-228, Sydney, 1994, 223 (colour illus.).

Jackie Menzies, Orientations, 'Japanese Figure Painting: From the Public to the Personal', pg. 114-119, Hong Kong, Sep 2000, 115 (colour illus.). fig.2

Jackie Menzies, The Floating World: Japan's world of transient pleasures, Sydney, 1994, (colour illus.). cat.no. M1

Jacqueline Menzies, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'Asian', pg. 72-93, Sydney, 1988, 84-85 (colour illus.).

Public Programmes Department, Art Gallery of New South Wales and The Japan Foundation (Editors), Art speaks Japanese: Japanese language education kit from the collection of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 2007, colour illus.. card no. 06