74.0 x 201.4cm image; 87.2 x 214.4cm screen
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 By the seventeenth century Japan's medieval samurai-based culture was being superseded by a newly emergent mercantile class.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.
Jackie Menzies (Australia) (Author), The Floating World: Japan's world of transient pleasures, Sydney, 1994, (colour illus.). cat.no. M1
Ewen McDonald (Australia) (Editor), The Art Gallery of New South Wales collections, Sydney, 1994, 223 (colour illus.).
Gary Hickey (Author), Beauty & desire in Edo period Japan, Parkes, 1998, 8 (colour illus.), 70. fig.no. 2
Bruce James (Australia) (Author), Edmund Capon (England; Australia, b.1940) (Director), Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, Domain, 1999, 275 (colour illus.).
Annabel Davie (Editor), Art Gallery of New South Wales Handbook, Domain, 1988, 84-85 (colour illus.).
AJIOKA Chiaki (Japan) (Curator), Heroes and villains: from Japan's floating world, Sydney, May 2001, 7. cat.no. 3.1
'Japanese Figure Painting: From the Public to the Personal' by Jackie Menzies, pg. 114-119., Orientations Sep 2000, Sep 2000, 115 (colour illus.). fig.2
Art speaks Japanese: Japanese language education kit from the collection of the Art Gallery of New South Wales 2007, 2007, colour illus.. card no. 06
The Floating World: Japan's World of transient pleasures, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 25 May 1994–17 Jul 1994.
Beauty and Desire in Edo period Japan, National Gallery of Australia, 06 Jun 1998–09 Aug 1998.
Heroes and Villains, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 19 May 2001–19 Aug 2001.
The art of Japanese screen painting, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 06 Nov 2004–06 Feb 2005.