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

Title

Bushô

1988

Artist

Brian Williams

Peru, Japan

1950 -

  • Details

    Alternative title
    General
    Place where the work was made
    Japan
    Period
    Shôwa period 1926 - 1988 → Japan
    Date
    1988
    Media category
    Print
    Materials used
    lithograph
    Edition
    2/2
    Dimensions
    49.0 x 44.0 cm image; 56.0 x 56.5 cm sheet
    Signature & date

    Signed and dated l.r., pencil "Brian Williams '88".

    Credit
    Gift of the artist 1993
    Location
    Not on display
    Accession number
    474.1993
    Copyright
    © Brian Williams

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Brian Williams

    Works in the collection

    1

    Share
  • About

    The title of this print, 'Busho', means warlord, and the image of traditional armour and helmet evokes the samurai heroes of Japan's mediaeval past. Samurai legend and mythology are deeply ingrained in the national consciousness of Japan. The samurai have been romanticised and idealised, and their legendary acts of heroism are known to every schoolchild. Renowned for their bravery and stoicism, the samurai lived by a most exacting code of behaviour, known as 'Bushido' (the Way of the Warrior), in which the highest value was placed on loyalty to their lord. Those found guilty of disloyalty were expected to commit 'seppuku' or ritual suicide. The legends and ethos of the samurai live on in plays, television dramas and the films of Akira Kurosawa ('The Seven Samurai', 'Throne of Book', 'Kagemusha').

    Williams was born in Lima, Peru, and now lives in Shiga Prefecture. For him 'bonsai' is a sort of ghost or echo from Japan's martial past - an image that is quaint and somewhat sinister at the same time. He believes a knowledge of a society's past is essential to the understanding of its present and future, and hence has depicted this image of a vague memory dimly gleaming in the half light of the past.

    Jackie Menzies, Contemporary Japanese Prints: The Urban Bonsai, 1992, pg. 97.

  • Places

    Where the work was made

    Japan

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 2 exhibitions

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 2 publications