We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of NSW stands.


(Daruma, samurai and courtesan)

early 18th century


Torii School


Alternate image of (Daruma, samurai and courtesan) by Torii School
Alternate image of (Daruma, samurai and courtesan) by Torii School
  • Details

    Place where the work was made
    Edo (Tokugawa) period 1615 - 1868 → Japan
    early 18th century
    Media categories
    Scroll , Painting
    Materials used
    hanging scroll; ink and colour on paper
    36.5 x 51.8 cm image; 120.0 x 62.8 x 69.2 cm scroll
    Signature & date

    Not signed. Not dated.

    Gift of David Newman 1982
    Not on display
    Accession number

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Torii School

    Works in the collection


  • About

    Painters of the Torii school are known for their representations of life within the ‘floating world’ (ukiyo) pleasure quarters of 18th-century Edo (now Tokyo), in particular the lives of courtesans and kabuki actors.

    This painting references an established Japanese literary debate evaluating the qualities of heterosexual versus male–male love (relations between women are not discussed in these historical texts). Here, a female courtesan makes the case that the male–female combination is the most harmonious, while the young male actor argues that love between men is purer and more honourable. Seated in the centre, dressed in red robes, is Daruma (Bodhidharma). An Indian or Central Asian monk who is considered the founder of Zen Buddhism, Daruma exposes the comparison as a farce, exclaiming, ‘Alas, the possessiveness of women and boys!’ He argues that neither form of love is superior to the other, because in Buddhist philosophy it is non-duality that reveals wisdom.

  • Places

    Where the work was made


  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 3 exhibitions

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 2 publications

  • Provenance

    David Newman, pre 1982, London/England, donated to the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, May 1982.