[AUSTRALIAN ABORIGINES]. Ikoku jinbutsu sugoroku [Game with people of foreign lands]
Colour woodblock on paper, 500 x 715mm, old folds as issued, some minor areas of loss with old paper repairs, an excellent example. Late Edo period, c. 1860. A spectacular Japanese woodblock game showing people of the world in highly stylised Japanese manner. Included is an image of an Australian Aborigine which bears little resemblance to any indigenous Australian. As Japan was largely a closed nation before the restoration of the Meiji (1868), geographical depictions and bankoku jinbutsu zue are often highly speculative and wildly inaccurate.
The catalogue entry for the example in the AIATSIS collection reads : ‘In 42 panels this untitled coloured woodblock sugoroku game shows the peoples of the world as they appeared to the Japanes artist in the mid 19th century, and the many images and text are intriguingly inaccurate. In particular the image of the Australian Aboriginal man is mistaken in both image and text which in translation reads “the people of this country have big lips and the hair that they tout [?] resembles the fur of wild animals” (possibly a reference to the wearing of possum skin cloaks)’.
Two examples located in Australian collections (AIATSIS; NGA). Rare.