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Geisha girl with parasol

Date: 1946
Dimensions:
325 x 190 mm
Medium: Silk, ink
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Peter Horne
Classification:Ephemera
Object Name: Silk drawing
Object No: 00040895

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    Description
    This artwork shows a geisha girl with parasol standing in a Japanese garden under a cherry blossom tree. It was made by an unknown Japanese prisoner of war (POW) at Rabaul, Papua New Guinea. The drawing was given to a member of HMAS COWRA's crew in exchange for cigarettes, when the POW was cleaning the ship's boilers as part of a working party.
    SignificanceThis Japanese artwork is an example of the types of handicrafts produced by POW's to pass time or exchange for goods.
    HistoryOn 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. COWRA was in the region as part of the 20th Minesweeping Flotilla, clearing mines from ports, harbours and shipping lanes.

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