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Geisha girl

Date: 1946
390 x 380 mm
Medium: Silk, ink
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Peter Horne
Object Name: Silk drawing
Object No: 00040894

User Terms

    This silk artwork depicts a geisha girl sitting in a traditional Japanese garden. It was made by a Japanese prisoner of war (POW) stationed at Rabaul and exchanged for cigarettes with a crew member of HMAS COWRA, when the POW's working party was cleaning the ship's boilers.
    SignificanceThis Japanese work is an example of the types of handcrafts produced by POW's to pass time or exchange as goods.
    HistoryThis ink on silk drawing depicts a geisha girl wearing traditional Japanese dress, seated on a mat in front of a typical Japanese garden setting with bonsai. It was executed by an unknown Japanese prisoner-of-war at Rabaul in 1946.

    On 23 January 1942, the advancing Japanese army invaded Rabaul on the island of New Britain, defeating the small Australian garrison and capturing the city as a base for its early operations in the area. Rabaul remained intact until it was surrounded and eventually captured by the Allies in April 1944. The Japanese army was captured and interned as prisoners-of-war.

    This silk artwork was acquired by the donor in 1946 from a party of Japanese prisoners at Rabaul. They were part of a working party cleaning HMAS COWRA's boilers and would sell their various artworks for cigarettes and other luxuries.

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