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The Thirty-six Poetic Immortals

Ikeda Koson (Japanese, 1801–1866)

Period:
Edo period (1615–1868)
Date:
mid-19th century
Culture:
Japan
Medium:
Two-panel folding screen; ink and color on silk
Dimensions:
68 1/16 x 68 3/4 in. (172.8 x 174.6 cm)
Classification:
Screens
Credit Line:
Mary and Jackson Burke Foundation
  • Description

    The venerated group of Thirty-six Poetic Immortals (Sanjǔrokkasen), illustrated many times on handscrolls during the Kamakura period, only began appearing on large screens in the early Edo period. The Rinpa painter Ogata Kŏrin (1658–1716) made a group portrait of the poets, depicted in semi-caricature, on a two-panel screen. The composition became one of the most frequently copied of Kŏrin’s paintings. Although these are imaginary portraits of poets of the past, seen seated in a confined space, they are endowed with a strong sense of individuality and animation, and they appear to be absorbed in earnest conversation.

    Koson was one of the leading students of Sakai Hŏitsu (1761–1828), who revived the fortunes of the Rinpa school after Kŏrin’s death.

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