The Golden JourneyJapanese Art from Australian Collections by yaofenjin


    

 The works of art appearing in the exhibition The Golden Journey: Japanese Art from Australian Collections cover the
 period from early in the first millenium to the twentieth century. The works represent an array of art including
 Buddhist and Shinto art; screen, hanging scroll and fan painting; and woodblock prints and decorative arts
 including armour, ceramics, enamelware, lacquerware, metalware and theatre costume.
 The learning experiences presented in this resource are designed to encourage students to take a closer look
 at selected works of art, and explore the key concepts associated with Japanese art and culture. Much of the
 information for this resource has been derived from the publication The Golden Journey: Japanese Art from
 Australian Collections by James Bennett and Amy Reigle Newland (Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide).

 Words given in bold (first use) in this education resource appear in the Glossary.

 Students may find the following Chronology useful.
 Japan                                         China
 Jōmon period (0,000–400 BCE)                 Tang dynasty (68–907)
 Yayoi period (400 BCE–50)                    Song dynasty (960–79)
 Kofun or Tumulus period (50–55)             Northern Song (960–7)
 Asuka period (55–70)                        Southern Song (7–79)
 Nara period (70–94)                          Yuan dynasty (7–368)
 Heian period (794–85)                       Ming dynasty (368–644)
 Kamakura period (85–333)                   Qing dynasty (644–9)
 Muromachi period (333–573)
 Nanbokuchō period (Southern &
 Northern courts) (333–9)
 Warring states period (Sengoku) (467–573)
 (Azuchi-) Momoyama period (573–65)
 Edo period (65–868)
 Meiji era (868–9)
 Taishō period (9–6)
 Shōwa period (96–89)
 Heisei period (989–present)

Connecting to the curriculum
This education resource can be adapted for different contexts and year levels. It has been designed to integrate the SACSA
Essential Learnings, and links most directly to:
•   Arts – Visual Arts: ‘Arts in contexts’
•   Society and Environment: ‘Societies and cultures’ and ‘Time, continuity and change’
•   Languages: ‘Understanding and appreciation of the cultural contexts in which [Language] is used’.

R ecommended pre-visit learning: guide for teachers
•   Ask questions: What do students already know? What do I want students to find out?
•   Introduce students to the geography of Japan. Investigate Japanese culture including rituals and timelines.
•   Discuss the dating terminology used in the exhibition: BCE (Before Common Era) and CE (Common Era).
    Look at the Chronology provided in the education resource.
•   Introduce details about the Buddhist and Shinto religions.
•   Consider the history and importance of Ukiyo-e and Japanese woodblock printing.
•   Introduce students to the role of calligraphy and calligraphers in Japanese art and society.

A t the exhibition
As bag storage is limited please bring only essentials such as medications and food. Discuss Art Gallery of South Australia
expectations in relation to school visits, particularly the guidelines for students:
•   Students should stay with their group, unless given instruction to move away for a specific activity.
•   Students should walk safely around the precious works of art and enjoy looking without touching.
•   Talking is an important part of learning, but students should remember to use quiet voices.
Duration: Groups will need a minimum of 45 minutes to an hour in the exhibition.

G uided sessions
Guided sessions provided by the Education Officer and /or Education Guides are available.
These introductory sessions are around 30–45 minutes duration. Guided session students will be taken through a ‘learning to
look’ process using selected works from the education resource. Reference will be made to aspects of technical production of a
variety of forms, and to themes, styles and periods. The content (eg. historical detail or folk stories) of particular works will also
be introduced. This focus does not include extended historical or cultural frameworks. Where a guided session is not possible
or not required, sections of this resource can be adapted to support a self-guided session. When making a booking please advise
whether you require guided support for your visit.

Bookings & exhibition entry
•   An entry fee (schools concession) applies to this exhibition: $0 per class size group. Supervising teachers/adults free
•   DECS Classified –4, AISS listed disadvantaged schools and all country schools free admission.
All group bookings tel: 807 7033, fax 807 7070

            This education resource has been made possible through the partnership between the Art Gallery of South Australia
               (Arts SA) and Outreach Education (Department of Education and Children’s Services). Outreach Education
                                      is a team of DECS educators seconded to public organisations.
A llegory III

Toshikatsu Endo, born 950
Allegory III, 988, Saitama, Japan
wood, fire, air, water, tar
South Australian Government Grant 99
Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide

                                                                     Questions and Activities
    The contemporary Japanese sculptor, Toshikatsu Endo,             Primary
made this canoe, floated it on a lake in Japan, then set it          • What did you think or feel when you first saw this
alight. The photographs above the work of art show these               sculpture?
stages in the work’s creation. Endo has included the four
                                                                     • Explain how the artist has used the four elements –
elements in his work as part of the creative process: fire, water,
                                                                       fire, water, earth, and air.
earth and air. He has reversed the usual reality of a canoe
                                                                     • Has the effect of the fire been positive or negative?
being on the water, by placing the water inside the canoe.
We are used to seeing these things move, but here, both the          • What are the artist’s intentions? Explain your answer.
canoe, and the water, are still. This is unsettling and puzzling.    Secondary
The artist has chosen to combine materials not normally used
                                                                     • Research the use of fire and water in Japanese ceremonies.
together to create new meanings.
                                                                       Recount your favourite ceremony.
    The powerful elements of water and fire can bring both
                                                                     • Endo has stated that his work stems from a profound sense
life and death. By combining them in this work Endo invites
                                                                       of absence. Research Minimalism as a style and relate it to
us to think about questions of human existence. The flames
                                                                       Endo’s work.
that engulfed the canoe also seem to be the same flames that
surround a coffin during cremation. This work of art is among        • The Japanese word shibui describes a state of unadorned
the most popular on display in the Art Gallery of South                elegance, refinement, and unobtrusive beauty.
Australia.                                                             Compare and contrast this contemporary Japanese
                                                                       sculpture with another work in this exhibition which you
                                                                       feel demonstrates shibui.
M ale and Female Shinto Deities

                                                                                      Kamakura period, 85–333
                                                                                      Male and female Shinto deities (Shinzō),
                                                                                      3th century, Usa Shrine area, Ōita, Kyushu
                                                                                      camphor wood, male figure 79.0 cm high,
                                                                                      female figure 48.5 cm high
                                                                                      Mrs Mary Overton Gift Fund 998
                                                                                      Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide

   Japanese culture and art have been shaped by a diversity        the itto-bori, or one-cut technique, which reinforced the idea
of beliefs and religions, particularly the Buddhist and Shinto     of the cohesion of wood and kami.
religions. Shinto – the way of the gods – is a living religion        The figures would have been kept hidden in the sanctuary
that permeates every aspect of Japanese life and generates         of a shrine and viewed only by those who had been fully
widespread devotion. Shinto is the native religion of Japan.       purified by ritual cleansing.
Its focus is the worship of kami or spirits. The Shinto religion
shows that every living and non-living thing contains a            Questions and Activities
kami. They are the vital force within everything. Kami can be
deified ancestors, heroes, or the powers of nature personified.
Every rock, tree, waterfall, and animal is believed to contain     • Describe the facial features of these deities. What words
a spirit. Nature is considered sacred and is worshipped as           would you use to describe the expressions on their faces?
containing kami.                                                   • Make your own drawing of these figures.
   These figures are wooden sculptures of Shinto deities
containing kami or spirits, and are depicted wearing court
                                                                   • Find out more about the ancient indigenous Shinto religion.
garments of the Heian period (794–9). The male wears
flowing garments and a tall court cap, and the female figure a     • Another sculpture in this room, Bishamonten, is from the
flowing robe and perhaps a scarf. The wood used is aromatic          same period. Compare the style and technique of this
camphorwood, which was regarded as a particularly sacred             sculpture with the Shinto deities.
wood, although it was difficult to carve. The deities have been    • Create your own figurative sculpture using the itto-bori
cut from a single block of wood so as not to destroy the spirit      technique. Choose from materials such as hebel (aerated
within. The simplified, clear-cut forms of the figures introduce     concrete), clay, foam or soap.
J ūichimen Kannon
                       This beautiful statue is of the bodhisattva Kannon. The
                    word bodhisattva means ‘awakening warrior’, and refers to
                    one who, out of love and compassion, desires to reach full
                    enlightenment in order to be of benefit to all beings. The
                    word is also commonly translated as ‘enlightened one’.
                       There are many details to notice here. Kannon stands on
                    a double lotus pedestal. The lotus is a symbol for the beauty
                    and peace within all forms of creation (the beautiful lotus
                    flower grows out of black mud). He is surrounded by a finely
                    decorated halo, suggesting his enlightenment. At the top
                    of the halo is a container (‘stupa’) intended for holding the
                    bodily remains or a relic of a buddha. A small buddha head
                    can be seen on the top knot. Originally there were eleven,
                    each representing a different version of the Amida Buddha.
                       In his left hand Kannon holds a vase from which he
                    dispenses the nectar of compassion. His right hand is held in
                    the position which indicates the granting of blessings.

                    Questions and Activities
                    • List the media used to create the statue.
                    • Describe the decorative detail, paying particular attention
                      to the halo and the bodhisattva’s robe.
                    • How would you describe the expression on Kannon’s face?
                    • Jūichimen Kannon and Male and female Shinto deities in the
                      exhibition are from the same period.
                    • Compare the media and techniques used, and discuss your
                      overall impressions of these works.
                    • Locate other works in the exhibition which relate to
                      Buddhist beliefs. Are there similarities?
                    • Look for other works which feature the lotus, and consider
                      its use by artists as a symbol of beauty and harmony.

                    Kamakura period, 85–333
                    Jūichimen Kannon, c.50
                    wood, gold leaf, iron, lacquer, bronze, 85.0 x 9. cm
                    Bequest of Sir Samuel Way 96
                    Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide
N ō theatre masks

Edo period, 65–868                                              Edo period, 65–868
Nō mask of Washibana akujō, c.700, Kyoto                          Nō mask of Tōgō, c.700, Kyoto
cypress wood, lacquer, gilt copper alloy, 0.3 x 5. cm           cypress wood, lacquer, gilt copper alloy, 0.3 x 3.9 cm
Bequest of Mrs Alec Tweedie 940                                   Bequest of Mrs Alec Tweedie 940
Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide                           Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide

   Japanese Nō theatre developed from ancient folk traditions      Questions and Activities
of the fourteenth century. The plays involved dramatic
adventures, and featured many characters including gods,
ghosts and fantastic creatures, as well as mortals. In Nō          •	 List the media used to make these masks.
theatre the stage is bare, and it is left to the actors in their   • What materials do you think would be used to make
masks and dazzling costumes, the musicians, and the dancers          theatre (or dress-up) masks today?
and chorus, to set the scene and suggest the atmosphere.           • Design and make your own ‘angry god’ mask.
The masks the actors wear are thus very important, and are
cleverly carved to suggest particular characters and their
emotions. The skill of the mask carver, and the actor, combine     • Research one of the actor dynasties or the history of Nō
to use the play of light across a mask to suggest changes in         theatre.
character and emotion. During a performance an innocent            • Early costumes for Nō theatre were adapted from luxury
character may be slowly transformed into an evil one!                garments given to actors by patrons. The costumes were
   The Nō mask of Washibana akujō and the Nō mask of Tōgō            often described as scenery in motion. Look for Nō costume
were used to represent the character of frightful or wrathful        with phoenix and cloud motif and Nō costume with fishing net
gods. In a later period they were also used in the role of           design. Consider the ways in which these costumes would
vengeful ghosts! Masks such as these were prized as theatrical       contribute to theatrical impact.
heirlooms, and were handed down through actor lineages.
K anzan and Jittoku

                          This beautiful work, with its sweeping ink brush strokes,
                      shows the two legendary recluses, Kanzan and Jittoku, who
                      lived around the late eighth and early ninth centuries, on
                      Mount Tiantai in southeast China. Kanzan was a poet;
                      Jittoku was a kitchen hand in a monastery. They wandered the
                      mountains, and came to be admired as free spirits, young men
                      who had no care for social convention or material possessions.
                      The rolled scroll and broom were symbols associated with the
                      two companions. Kanzan and Jittoku first became a subject
                      for Chinese artists in the Song dynasty, and later became
                      popular with Japanese artists.
                          This scroll is a collaborative work by the artist Yūshō
                      Zakkean and the calligrapher Jiun Sonja Onkō. Collaborative
                      work was widespread in Japanese art and literary practice. The
                      calligraphy on the scroll, which complements the image of
                      the two ‘lunatics’ huddled together in a conspiratorial whisper,
                      is a poem about Kanzan and Jittoku.

                      Questions and Activities
                      Note: Students at both primary and secondary levels might
                      like to look for other works in the exhibition which feature
                      calligraphy, for example Sparrow on a blossoming plum tree;
                      Kannon, and the screen Pine wind, plum moon.
                      • What is the Japanese word for an illustrated handscroll?
                      • Create a scroll painting showing you and a classmate.
                      • Compose a short poem to accompany your painting, and
                        include it on your scroll.
                      • Research the history of scroll painting, and consider the
                        importance of scrolls in Asian art, and the connection of
                        this art form with calligraphy.
                      • Look for other scrolls in the exhibition, particularly
                        They kick when fired... and Cranes in the field....
                        Discuss the differences you notice.

                      Yūshō Zakkean, active 8th century, inscription and painting;
                      Jiun Sonja Onkō, 78–804, additional inscription
                      Kanzan and Jittoku, late 8th century
                      hanging scroll, ink on paper, 8.0 x 43.0 cm
                      Gift of Kurt A. Gitter 006
                      Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney photo: Mim Stirling

P icnic set (sage-jubako)

Edo period, 65–868, Picnic set (sage-jubako), c.845–60s, Kyoto(?)
gold and rōiro lacquer, glazed earthenware, metal, 38.0 x 33.0 x 4.5 cm (frame)
Elizabeth and Tom Hunter Fund 006
Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide

   During the Edo period (65–868) numerous practical                            Questions and Activities
utensils were made from lacquer. Lacquer is extracted from                         Primary
the toxic sap of the tree Rhus vernifluia. Precise environmental                   • Do you think this picnic set looks more decorative than
conditions, particularly in relation to humidity, are required for                   functional? Compare the features of this object with a
the thinly layered applications of sap, and, after the sap has                       contemporary picnic set.
hardened, for the delicate polishing with stone or charcoal. The
                                                                                   • Design your own picnic set. What materials would you use?
process can take years.
   Highly decorated objects, such as this picnic set, were                         • What information can you find about the sort of food and
important indicators of wealth and social status. Such an                            drink Japanese people might take on a picnic?
elaborate item would have belonged to an important family or                       • There are other food containers in the exhibition. Look for
individual, and would probably have been used only on very                           Hexagonal three-tiered food box and Square flask.
special occasions, such as an outing to a famous temple. The
set contains a three-sectioned food box, tray, and two-tiered
                                                                                   • Research lacquer technique. Look for other lacquer objects
container with a cover to hold the sake bottle.
                                                                                     in the exhibition, for example Tray, negoro ware. Look also
   The techniques used in the creation of the picnic set include
                                                                                     for Writing box (suzuribako) in the exhibition. The design on
deep-tone, high-gloss lacquer, and relief lacquer. The insides of
                                                                                     the box has been drawn in layers of applied gold dust and
the containers are lacquered in fine gold flakes. The artist has
used particular symbolic images in the decoration – flowers
(chrysanthemums) floating on a stream, and waves. The two                          • Research the use of gold flake / leaf /dust in both Japanese
family crests on the base of the stand suggest that the picnic                       art and Western art.
set may have been part of a wedding dowry.                                         • Design and decorate a contemporary Australian picnic set.
A rrival of the Black ship

    Decorated folding screens, byōbu, have been used in Japan     Momoyama period, 573–65
since they were first introduced in the seventh and eighth        Arrival of the Black ship, c.590
                                                                  single six-panel screen, ink, colour
centuries. Traditional Japanese buildings had few permanent       and gold on paper, 94.0 x 90.0 cm
walls, so moveable and folding screens took on an important       The Gwinnett Collection
role in dividing, enclosing and defining indoor spaces. Screens
were usually viewed from a sitting position on the floor,
and the proportions of most screens take this into account.
Screens covered with gold leaf would serve both practical and
aesthetic purposes, reflecting lamplight at night.
    The screen narrative is read left to right, the opposite to
other screens in this exhibition. The six panels in the screen
show the arrival of a Portuguese merchant ship, and a street
scene or reception. The first merchant ships from Portugal        Questions and Activities
arrived in Japan in 543, bringing trade and missionary
                                                                  • Look closely at the screen. List the activities you can see on
    Each year the arrival of the Portuguese ships, known as
                                                                    the ship. What is happening on the shore? Why would the
the ‘Black ships’, brought great excitement. Artists, mostly
                                                                    arrival of the Portuguese cause so much excitement?
from the Kanō school, began to paint and record their arrival.
The ships brought many things, including Chinese goods,           • Describe the differences between the Portuguese and
particularly silks.                                                 Japanese people in this scene. Pay particular attention to
    This three-mast merchant ship is heavily armed with             their clothing.
canons, which the Portuguese introduced into Japan at the
same time as firearms. The captain of the ship is identified
                                                                  • Consider the outcome of contact between peoples of
by his finery and a parasol. He is accompanied by the crew
                                                                    different backgrounds and cultures as depicted in the two
escorting an assortment of exotic Asian animals intended as
                                                                    screens Scenes of the Ezo fishing grounds and Arrival of the
gifts for wealthy Japanese. The animals include a rare white
                                                                    Black ship.
elephant. Buddhists consider the white elephant as the holiest
of beasts, and as the very embodiment of the soul of the          • The backgrounds of many of the screens in the exhibition
Buddha.                                                             are often simple or stylized, and this encourages you to
    The townspeople view the arrival with interest. The ship        focus on details. What are the prominent details on the
is greeted by a Franciscan monk in grey and an Augustinian          screen Arrival of the Black ship?
monk in black robes. The two monks are followed by a              • Look at other screens to appreciate this technique, for
group of mainly women, who may represent the Christian              example Scenes in and around Kyoto and Battle scenes from
congregation of Nagasaki.                                           The tales of Heike.
S cenes of the Ezo fishing grounds

   This is a handscroll (emakimono). It is like a carefully        detail: Kodama Teiryō, active c.75–64
                                                                   Scenes of the Ezo fishing grounds, c.75–64, Matsumae, Hokkaido
constructed silent film that tells a story. As you unroll the      handscroll, ink and colour on paper, 87.0 x 7.7 cm
scroll each new scene is revealed. The period depicted on          South Australian Government Grant 940
                                                                   Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide
the scroll is the mid-eighteenth century, and the leading
characters are the indigenous hunters and gatherers of
Ezogoshima: the Ainu. The artist, Kodama Teiryō, was a
machi-eshi, an artist who earned his livelihood by selling his
paintings to townspeople. Teiryō produced Ainu-e (‘Ainu
pictures’) of which this scroll is an example.
   From the seventeenth century the Ainu had been pushed
to the far north island of Ezogoshima (now Hokkaido) where
they were encouraged to settle. The scroll depicts different
aspects of the life of the Ainu, and their relationship with the
   The first scene shows an important event, the omusha, a
formal ceremony for the official distribution of gifts from
the lord of the Matsumae clan, who maintained a trading
monopoly with the Ainu. From a simple house a seated
samurai, in black robe, looks toward the gathered Ainu. He         Questions and Activities
wears a sword, and holds a fan. There is a prayer stick beside     Primary
him, and the long red roll behind is likely to hold weapons.
                                                                   • Can you describe the differences between the Ainu and the
To his left sits a government official, who is also elevated
                                                                     Japanese as shown here? Look for differences in both facial
above the Ainu. To the side of the house are gifts for the
                                                                     appearance and dress.
Ainu – straw bags, perhaps containing tobacco leaves, and
sake casks.                                                        • Write a story about the life of the Ainu. Make your own
   The bearded Ainu man, in the robe with geometric design,          scroll featuring the story you have told. Use black ink or
bows toward an interpreter. Is something changing hands?             paint.
There are indicators in this scene of a ritual exchange. Notice
the red lacquered ceremonial cups and saucers.
                                                                   • What can these images tell you about society and life in
   A number of beach scenes feature in the rest of the scroll:
                                                                     this period?
two Ainu men carry ashore salted abalone, shark fins, and
dried salted salmon; Ainu men are shown fishing in two             • Investigate the origins and customs of the Ainu people.
boats, steering with poles, and trawling with nets; men haul         What were their relations with the Japanese? What is their
in a net, under the instruction of their leader on the beach. In     status in contemporary Japan?
another scene, women are introduced, cleaning fish which is        • Lacquered ceremonial cups and saucers were used in a
then rolled up in straw matting, and carried away by the Ainu        number of different ceremonies. Research traditional
men. This fish may be intended as a gift for the Japanese.           Japanese ritual ceremonies, including tea ceremonies.
S eto Inland Sea: Osaka to Nagasaki sea route map

                                                                                                           Edo period, 65–868
                                                                                                           Seto Inland Sea: Osaka to
                                                                                                           Nagasaki sea route map, late
                                                                                                           7th century
                                                                                                           pair of six-panel screens,
                                                                                                           colour, gold on paper, 37.0 x
                                                                                                           8.0 cm, 37.0 x 85.0 cm
                                                                                                           Gift of Andrew and Hiroko
                                                                                                           Gwinnett through the Art
                                                                                                           Gallery of South Australia
                                                                                                           Foundation 008
                                                                                                           Art Gallery of South
                                                                                                           Australia, Adelaide

    The Seto Inland Sea occupies approximately 0,000 km,
and is scattered with some 3,000 islands of various sizes.
The area is known for its rapid currents, hazardous reefs and
dangerous sailing conditions, but also for its plentiful fishing    Questions and Activities
grounds. Over the centuries many battles have been fought in
this region due to its strategic location.
    The rare large-scale historical map depicted on the pair of     • Look at a map of Japan and name the surrounding oceans
screens illustrates one of Japan’s most prominent geographical        and islands.
regions, the sea routes between Nagasaki and Osaka,                 • Look at the details on the screen. Find the numerous
together with major landmarks along the way. The map                  sailing boats that display crests of powerful feudal lords.
is a continuous panorama, with mountains, towns, castles,             Make a sketch of your favourite boat and its crest.
temples, and ships shown.                                           • Can you find the Portuguese ‘black ship’? Where is it
    The maritime information recording islands and reefs              going? Where has it come from?
hazardous to sailing is shown in precise detail. The numerous
shipping routes are mapped in red lines, while the white
                                                                    • Consider how Seto Inland Sea is not simply a sea route map
circular symbols along the coastline probably indicate
                                                                      but also shows historical events and everyday activities. In
hazardous currents or shallows and rocks. Many boats are
                                                                      the same way Scenes in and around Kyoto is also a kind of
sailing in the waters. The large two-mast Portuguese ‘black
                                                                      map, recording aspects of the society of the time.
ship’ is on its annual trading voyage.
    During the Edo period, sailing routes were developed to         • Research the history of map making. When were the first
encourage the safe passage of goods and people. For the first         maps made?
time travellers were able to visit historical sites, and Nagasaki   • Look at maps of the world today. How are they different to
was a much sought out destination for the Japanese.                   this map made in the late seventeenth century?
S umO WrEStlErS

Utagawa Kuniyoshi, 797–86
The sumo wrestlers Shiranui Dakuemon (centre left), Tsurugizan Taniemon (centre right), with referee Shikimori Inosuke
and seated judge (left), the elder (retired) wrestler Miyagino (right), later 830s–early 840s
nishiki-e, ōban triptych, colour woodblock print, each 36.7 x 5.0 cm
South Australian Government Grant 975, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide

    On 5 September, 843, two sumo wrestlers fought a                            role is taken so seriously that, though he is not a samurai, he
match on a ring specially built in the grounds of the shogun’s                    is allowed to wear a sword to show that he is prepared to take
castle, to be watched by the shogun Tokugawa Ieyoshi                              his life if his judgement is found incorrect.
himself.                                                                              Sumo wrestling started out as a ritual to forecast the
    This event was so special that Kuniyoshi, one of the most                     fortune of the country, but after hundreds of years it became
popular Ukiyo-e artists of the time, was commissioned                             more a sport and a popular entertainment. The wrestlers
to draw the scene. Kuniyoshi’s sketch was made into a                             became rough, and sometimes violent, and sumo started to
woodblock print, and the printed copies were bought by                            get a bad reputation.
many people as a souvenir of Edo, Japan’s capital city, now
called Tokyo.
    In this print we see the wrestlers Tsurugizan on the right,                   Questions and Activities
and Shiranui on the left. The umpire, Shikimori Inosuke,                          Primary
is standing at the far left. The match witness, the Elder
                                                                                  • Why do you think that sumo wrestlers are always barefoot?
Miyagino, is seated to the right of the wrestlers.
                                                                                  • Umpires wear tabi (socks) and /or zori (sandals) during
    Most sumo wrestlers had some tokuiwaza, a technique
                                                                                    matches. What is Shikimori Inosuke wearing?
they were best at, but Tsurugizan did not have one. His idea
was that once you had established your tokuiwaza, all your                        • Design your own gunpai for a match or competition. Write
opponents would know what it was so they could work out                             the slogan in English.
how to defeat you. Therefore, he said, you had to train yourself
to be good at every technique.
                                                                                  • Research the first artist in the Utagawa group, Utagawa
    The umpire (gyōji) Shikimori Inosuke is holding a gunpai,
                                                                                    Toyoharu (735–84).
originally a fan used on a battlefield by a commander to give
directions to his fighters. Using this gunpai his role is to                      • Explain the process for making multi-coloured woodblock
summon the wrestlers into the ring, signal for the wrestlers                        prints.
to stand up to commence the match, encourage them to                              • View the Art Gallery of South Australia’s online collection
keep moving, judge which side has won and using which                               of Japanese works of art. Describe the work by Utagawa
technique, and finally, to announce the winner. The umpire’s                        Kuniyoshi. Investigate why there are so many Utagawas.
T he kabuki actor Ichikawa Danjūrō IX

Toyohara Kunichika, 835–900
The kabuki actor Ichikawa Danjūrō IX meditating before an image of Fudō Myōō, VI/889
nishiki-e, ōban triptych, colour woodblock print, each 36.5 x 5.0 cm
Public Donations Fund 008
Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide

   This is a complex work containing many meanings and                         Questions and Activities
ideas. In Japan, actors were encouraged to learn and become
proficient in arts other than performance. These arts included
                                                                               • Research kabuki theatre. How is it different to Nō theatre?
poetry, painting and calligraphy. The actors assumed pen
names which they used when pursuing these other arts.                          • Look for other images of kabuki actors in the exhibition.
   In this triptych the famous kabuki actor Danjūrō X is                        What do their features have in common?
shown in formal clothing, seated before a painting of Fudō                     • Paint a portrait of yourself as a kabuki actor!
Myōō, chief of the Five Wisdom Kings, and protective
Buddhist deity of the Ichikawa line of actors. The painting
within the print is signed with Danjūrō’s poetry pen-name,                     • What are the different arts featured in this work?
‘Danshū’, and states that it is done in the style of master                    • Compare this work with the woodblock print The kabuki
Kazan.                                                                           actor Ichikawa Danjūrō.
   The Kazan-style painting is surrounded by implements                        • Find the small statue of Fudō Myōō in the exhibition.
used by the scholar-painter: brushes, brush water pot,                           What is he holding in his right hand? In his left? What
inkstone and brush rest. To the right of the painting are a                      might these things symbolise? Why have they been used by
priest’s whisk and a vase with a peony, the flower associated                    the artist?
with the Danjūrō line. The screen in the background depicts
                                                                               • What differences do you notice between this statue and the
a waterfall, which together with the painting of Fudō Myōō,
                                                                                 image on the scroll?
the 889 date, and the headnote, indicate that the print was
                                                                               • Think of this work as an advertisement for a movie or play,
a special one, released to commemorate a particular theatre
                                                                                 and compare it with a contemporary theatre advertisement.
performance in which Danjūrō starred. All the details in this
print combine to suggest Danjūrō’s significance as a member
of the cultured class. Many kabuki actors enjoyed the ‘star’
status that film and television actors enjoy in our society.
H airdresser (Kamiyui)

                                                                               Kitagawa Utamaro, 753?–806
                                                                               Hairdresser (Kamiyui)
                                                                               from the series Twelve types of women’s handicraft
                                                                               (Fujin tewaza jūnikō), c.797–98
                                                                               nishiki-e, ōban, colour woodblock print, 38.0 x 7.6 cm
                                                                               South Australian Government Grant 983
                                                                               Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide

   The popular woodblock prints of the Edo period depicted       Questions and Activities
various images of daily life and urban culture. The pursuit      Primary
of beauty was one of the most frequently shown images in         • What is the hairdressing ‘tool’ being used?
Ukiyo-e. The prints frequently detailed the attention that       • Describe the hairdresser’s hair decoration. What might it
both men and women gave to the care and adornment of the           be made of?
body. Some Ukiyo-e artists set new trends in style and fashion   • Consider the use of wigs / false hairpieces (adornments) in
through the attention they gave in their works to clothing         Japanese fashion.
and adornment.                                                   • Look at other woodblock prints in the exhibition which
   Artists represented women from the different social             show hair and robe ‘fashion’ details, for example Kikugawa
classes. This woodblock print by Kitagawa Utamaro, one of          Eizan’s Beauty walking in the snow.
the most influential artists of his day, shows a hairdresser
(artisan class) attending to her client. Both women are          Secondary
dressed in simple cotton robes rather than the exquisite         • What are your first impressions?
kimono robes evident in other woodblocks in the exhibition.      • Consider the elongated faces. The artist has simplified or
Both look as if they are concentrating deeply.                     ‘stylised’ the women. Why do you think he has done this?
   Beauty is serious business!                                   • Select woodblock prints which represent different styles of
                                                                   costume for different activities or different occasions. What
                                                                   do these fashion differences suggest about the society of the
N etsuke
                                                                                                      Sukenao, active c. 850
                                                                                                      Netsuke, Daruma yawning, c.850
                                                                                                      fossil ivory, 3.8 cm high
                                                                                                      M.J.M. Carter AO Collection 004
                                                                                                      Art Gallery of South Australia,

                                                                   Questions and Activities
                                                                   Primary and Secondary
                                                                   The following stories are associated with the netsuke and
                                                                   okimono in this exhibition.
Edo period, 65–868
                                                                   Daruma yawning
Okimono, Ashinaga tenaga (Long-legs-
short-arms – short-legs-long-arms), c.850                         A long time ago Daruma went to China to spread the
boxwood, 8.3 cm high                                               wisdom of Zen Buddhist teachings. While there he stayed
Bequest of Miss Sarah Crabb 95
Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide                           in a temple for nine years, squatting on his haunches by
                                                                   a wall, without speaking or moving. He was in a state of
centre: Kajikawa studio, Inrō, mid-9th century
gold lacquer, metal and gold inlay, ivory and silk                 deep meditation, thinking about the idea ‘Nothing has ever
cord, .0 cm high                                                 existed’. When he finally went to stand he found that his legs
M.J.M. Carter AO Collection 004
                                                                   had withered away. Daruma is often shown therefore, as a
Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide
                                                                   legless, and sometimes an armless person. In popular culture
                                                                   he appears as a snowman and a toy figure, which despite not
   Netsuke are miniature sculptures that were invented in
                                                                   having any legs always keeps bobbing up the right way.
7th century Japan to provide a practical function (the two
Japanese characters ne+tsuke mean ‘root’ and ‘to attach’).         Ashinaga tenaga (Long-legs-short-arms – short-legs-long-arms)
   Traditional Japanese garment-robes, called kimono, had no       Ashinaga (Long Legs) and Tenaga (Long Arms) are some of
pockets, however men or women who wore them needed a               the most popular subjects in netsuke art. They symbolise the
place to store their personal belongings such as money, pipes,     idea of mutual assistance necessary for a productive life. The
tobacco, or medicines. Their solution was to place objects in      unique combination of abilities enabled these two characters
containers. These could be a pouch or a small woven basket,        to go fishing for shellfish and fish in quite deep water. The
but the most popular were beautifully crafted boxes, called        stories of Ashinaga and Tenaga came originally from India,
inrō. Whatever the form of the container, the fastener that        then moved through China to Korea and Japan.
secured the cord at the top of the sash was a carved toggle
called a netsuke. This fastener reduced the risk of losing the
                                                                   • Find the netsuke Chinese monk, Okimono, Hotei. Where
inrō or pouch.
                                                                     are the inrō and netsuke hanging?
   Netsuke were inspired by animals, deities and characters
                                                                   • Select your favourite netsuke or okimono from those in the
from folk tales, and were eventually made not only from
                                                                     exhibition. Describe in detail what it looks like, the date
wood, but also from bone, ivory, wicker, iron and precious
                                                                     created, materials used, and dimensions.
   Netsuke production was most popular during the Edo              Secondary
period in Japan (65–868). Netsuke evolved over time.            • Inrō, the set pictured above centre, with the netsuke and
From being simple, functional shapes, they became objects of         ojime bead still attached with its original chord, displays
great detail and artistic merit. Netsuke are fully carved in the     a variety of materials and techniques used. Describe the
round, designed to look appealing from all sides and angles.         imagery depicted on the inrō, ojime and netsuke.
A netsuke collector might pick up and feel a netsuke before        • Consider the artistry in terms of materials used, for
examining it more closely. Some netsuke were designed as             example for Sparrow; for Hare eating a leaf; for Daruma
non-functional objects called okimono: small, freestanding           yawning; and for Ashinaga tenaga (Long-legs-short-arms
carvings or sculptures. These were usually made for export,          – short-legs-long-arms).
not a local market.
Elephant carrying urn and rakan

                                                                                                 Norimitsu, active late 9th century
                                                                                                 Elephant carrying urn and rakan, c.890
                                                                                                 bronze, shakudō, 4.0 x 87.0 x 4.0 cm
                                                                                                 Ayers House Museum, National Trust
                                                                                                 of South Australia, Adelaide

                                                                 Questions and Activities
    Japanese metalsmiths developed exceptional skills in the
creation of bronze sculptures of creatures from the natural      Primary
world. This sculpture is made from bronze and shakudō, a         • Describe the garment the rakan is wearing. What is he
combination of gold and copper, chosen and used because of         holding?
its beautiful dark blue-purple patina.                           • Locate other rakans in the exhibition and compare them
    The elephant is an important creature for Buddhists, and       with this sculpture.
is also an icon in Japanese art. In this sculpture the dignity
                                                                 • Describe the decoration /design on the elephant’s rug.
and majesty of the animal have been captured by the artist
Norimitsu.                                                       Secondary
    The figure seated on the urn is a disciple, also known as    • What is an icon? Locate other ‘icons’ in the exhibition.
a rakan (worthy one) of the Buddha. He embraces a large
                                                                 • Look for other bronze works in the exhibition (for example
creature possibly intended to represent the tiger that often
                                                                   Eagle) and compare their appearance.
accompanies Buddha’s disciple Hattera. The tiger is a symbol
of strength and power for the Japanese, though it is not an      • Locate other works which use shakudō, and explain how
animal found in Japan.                                             shakudō enhances their appearance or appeal.
G lossary
Japanese words are written in Japanese scripts (hiragana, katakana or kanji where commonly used)
Ainu-e            アイヌえ アイヌ絵                     ‘pictures’ of the life and customs of indigenous Ainu people

calligraphy       careful hand-lettering, handwriting, or the decorative art of lettering in an ornamental style using brushes
                  or pens

heirlooms         family possessions (usually something special or precious) passed from generation to generation

icon              usually a painting or representation of a religious (or significant) subject or figure

inrō              いんろう 印篭                a pouch or small container for holding small objects

kabuki            かぶき         歌舞伎        dramatic style of theatre and acting popular in Japan, characterised by stylized

kami              かみ 神        a Shinto spirit

Kanō              かのう 可能 school of painters from the 5th to 6th centuries; official painters of the Tokugawa

kimono            きもの 着物 the traditional clothing of Japan
lacquer           hard waterproof finish (varnish) which is built up in layers

lineage           line of descent from an ancestor

netsuke           ねつけ 根付 small carvings used to fasten a pouch or small container
Nō                のう 能 refers to a particular style of Japanese theatre, as well as theatre costumes and masks used to
                  portray fantastic and dramatic creatures

ojime             おじめ a type of bead worn between an inrō and netsuke
okimono           おきもの 置物               a ‘placed thing’: a small ornamental carving

patina            the alteration of surface ‘colouring’ as a result of age and handling, or exposure to air

patron            supporter of an event or cause, a sponsor or benefactor of the arts

sake              さけ 酒 fermented rice-based alcoholic drink, very popular in Japan
samurai           さむらい 侍 a member of the Japanese noble or military class (special reference to feudal Japan)
shogun            しょうぐん 将軍 a military rank and historical title for hereditary commanders of armies in Japan
sumo              すもう 相撲 a competitive contact sport originating in Japan where a wrestler attempts to force
                  another wrestler out of a circular ring or to touch the ground with anything other than the soles of the

symbol            a thing used to stand for, or represent, another

shibui            しぶい 渋い a Japanese word which refers to a particular aesthetic of simple, subtle, and unobtrusive

triptych          a set of three panels, or sections, placed side by side

Ukiyo-e           うきよえ 浮世絵 ‘pictures of the floating world’: a reference to the woodblock prints, illustrated books
                  and paintings depicting subjects related to the urban popular culture of the Edo period

woodblock print   type of woodcut printed from separate wooden blocks, each carrying a separate colour and fitted together
                  to complete the final design (image, text or pattern on textile or paper)


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