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


Sewing lesson



  • Details

    Place where the work was made
    Meiji period 1868 - 1912 → Japan
    Media categories
    Print , Book
    Materials used
    concertina album: woodblock print; ink and colour on paper; triptych
    35.4 x 23.7 cm
    Gift of Shona Barker 2008
    Not on display
    Accession number

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Adachi/Shōsai Ginkō

    Works in the collection


  • About

    This work is from a concertina album of eight triptychs by two prominent print artists of the Meiji period, Adachi/Shōsai Ginkō and Toyohara/Yōshū Chikanobu. With the exception of the first triptych by Ginkō, which depicts the Heian period novelist Murasaki Shikibu, author of the ‘Tale of Genji’, attending Empress Shōshi, all the triptychs focus on wealthy, educated women entertaining guests, gathering for tea ceremony, attending sewing classes, and preparing decorations for the five major seasonal festivals.

    In line with the increasing concern of Japanese government officials to teach moral values to the new generation in the early 1890s, a number of books were published concerning proper behaviour for women. Serving as manuals, many of those were entitled “Ladies’ Etiquette” ('Onna Reishiki') and described how women, especially those of the upper-class, should dress and behave in social situations, giving detailed instructions on the proper ways to sit, bow, serve tea, welcome guests, and spend leisure time. Great attention has been paid to the rich colour and pattern of the clothing, suggesting that these prints might also have functioned as fashion plates. These deluxe editions were made on commission and feature luxurious techniques such as blind printing.

  • Places

    Where the work was made


  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 1 exhibition

  • Provenance

    Shona Barker, 1960s-2008, Sydney/New South Wales/Australia, donated to the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 2008.

Other works by Adachi/Shōsai Ginkō

See all 5 works