Japanese dead
ID numberART28309.010
Collection typeArt
TitleJapanese dead
Measurementsheet: 16 x 30.6 cm; image: 8.6 x 28.2 cm (irregular)
Object typeDrawing
MakerDrysdale, Russell
Place made
  • Australia
  • Australia: New South Wales, Sydney
Date made1944
Physical descriptionpen and black ink on paper
CopyrightAWM Licensed copyright
DescriptionIllustration for the wartime publication 'Soldier superb: the Australian fights in New Guinea'. Depicts the remains of human skeletons. On verso; sketch of a soldier climbing a ladder.

First published in Alan Dawes's 1943, Japanese dead is one of Drysdale's few illustrations to focus on the human cost of war. It presents a haunting image of the aftermath of an Australian air raid in Papua New Guinea. Towards the end of 1945, Drysdale went on to record the devastating effects of the drought in New South Wales. His paintings of rotting animal carcasses scattered across drought-stricken lands are markedly similar to this work.