Dolls still play an integral role in Japanese society. Apart from appearing annually in homes all over Japan for the Doll Festival ('Hina Matsuri') for girls on the 3rd March (see acc.no. 430.1993) and the Boy's Festival ('Tango no Sekku') on the 5th May, dolls are also made as artistic expressions of unique regional styles. Hence much lavish care is expended on dolls and their costumes, so they can be admired and enjoyed visually.
In this print Sakurai has used a photograph of a doll representing a girl, and has depicted her fully clothed in a beautiful traditional kimono decorated with wheels, water motifs and cherry blossoms (a symbol of spring). He has further refined this image by placing a veil of stylised wave decoration across the whole surface, and titling the work 'ga' which means elegance, artistry or taste. There is a hint of the fetish in the fastidious care applied to this image. By applying modern techniques to classic subjects, he uses his print as an affirmation of the continuity of traditional Japanese customs, textiles and design.
Sakurai was born in Wakayama Prefecture, and now lives in Kyoto, the traditional cultural centre of Japan and a city whose conservative values would be more in tune with the artist's own promotion of traditions.
Jackie Menzies, Contemporary Japanese Prints: The Urban Bonsai, 1992, pg. 85, 88.
Place where the work was made
Heisei period 1989 - → Japan
60.6 x 42.4 cm image; 69.5 x 50.0 cm sheet
Signature & date
Signed l.r., pencil "Sakurai". Not dated.
Gift of the artist 1993
Not on display
© SAKURAI Sadao
Where the work was made
Shown in 1 exhibition
The Urban Bonsai:
- Queensland Art Gallery, South Brisbane 04 Mar 1992–04 May 1992
- National Art Gallery, Wellington, Wellington 20 Jun 1992–09 Aug 1992
- Christchurch Art Gallery, Christchurch 12 Sep 1992–29 Oct 1992
- Manawatu Art Gallery, New Zealand 13 Nov 1992–10 Jan 1993
- The George Adams Gallery, Victorian Arts Centre, Melbourne 18 Mar 1993–25 Apr 1993
- Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney 08 May 1993–01 Aug 1993
- Lewers Bequest and Penrith Regional Art Gallery, Emu Plains 11 Mar 1994–24 Apr 1994
- Drill Hall Gallery, Australian National University, Canberra 19 May 1994–19 Jun 1994
- Campbelltown Arts Centre, Campbelltown 15 Jul 1994–21 Aug 1994
- Moree Plains Gallery, Moree 11 Nov 1994–24 Dec 1994
- Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre, Murwillumbah 01 Feb 1995–05 Mar 1995
Referenced in 1 publication
Jackie Menzies, Contemporary Japanese Prints : The Urban Bonsai, Sydney, 1992, 85, 83 (colour illus.), 88. cat. no. 51