Tsukioka Yoshitoshi

(Japan 1839 – 1892)

Picture of the country of New Holland South Wales (Shin Oranda Minami Waruresukoku no zu)

Not on display
Further information

Tsukioka Yoshitoshi was an exceptional artist working on the crest of significant social and political change in Japan. He was born into the deliberate isolation of Japan from the rest of the world in the Edo period (1603–1868) and died after the emperor Meiji was restored to the throne, Edo was renamed Tokyo and international trade and visitation were burgeoning. Yoshitoshi and his contemporaries recorded the new Japan (and imagined foreign cities) in woodblock prints for popular consumption, including in newspapers. Yoshitoshi’s prints from that time captured new technologies such as steam trains and photography, exotic animals like leopards and elephants, and people, clothing and habits from Europe and America. The port of Yokohama, not far from Edo (Tokyo), became a foreign settlement and hub of commerce and cultural exchange.

In 1866 publisher Iseya Kisaburo released a series of prints designed by Yoshitoshi including Picture of trade with many nations in a large French port (Fura ominato shokoku kokei no zu) and Picture of the country of New Holland [New] South Wales (Shin Oranda Minami Waruresukoku no zu). The artist did not leave Japan but appears to have had access to sources on which to base his fantastical imaginings.

This triptych presents an active scene of children, dogs (one biting a man) flanked by horse drawn carriages and figures in late 19th century clothing. On the right sheet, beside women in bustles and shawls, is a man with a goatee and queue dressed in Chinese clothing of the period.

The viewpoint in Picture of the country of New Holland [New] South Wales could have been inspired by an image of Sydney’s King Street looking east towards the harbour from a print, book or even an early photograph. Yoshitoshi perhaps saw resources such as Joseph Fowles’ book Sydney in 1848 or FC Terry’s 1855 engraving King Street Sydney looking East.

Place of origin
Cultural origin
Japan: Edo (Tokugawa) period 1615–1868
woodblock print; ink and colour on paper, triptych
36 x 75 cm :
a - right panel, 36 x 25 cm
b - centre panel, 36 x 25 cm
c - left panel, 36 x 25 cm
Yasuko Myer Bequest Fund 2020
Accession number