The Poet Mibu no Tadamine, from a set of album leaves illustrating The Thirty-six Poetic Immortals
Iwasa Matabei (Japanese, 1578–1650)
Edo period (1615–1868)
early 17th century
Hanging scroll; ink, color, gold and silver on paper
Image: 11 1/4 × 12 3/4 in. (28.6 × 32.4 cm); Overall with mounting: 47 3/4 × 16 5/8 in. (121.3 × 42.2 cm); Overall with knobs: 47 3/4 × 18 3/4 in. (121.3 × 47.6 cm)
The Harry G. C. Packard Collection of Asian Art, Gift of Harry G. C. Packard, and Purchase, Fletcher, Rogers, Harris Brisbane Dick, and Louis V. Bell Funds, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, and The Annenberg Fund Inc. Gift, 1975
Not on view
For the Japanese elite, poetry was the quintessential literary experience. Idealized and deeply admired, poets were often commemorated in portraiture. In the early eleventh century, Fujiwara Kintō (966–1041) selected thirty-six "immortal" poets from the past, and their images became a popular theme in the yamato-e painting tradition. This picture, originally part of a set of album leaves of the thirty-six poets, is attributed to Iwasa Matabei (1578–1650), a renowned painter who is often credited with originating ukiyo-e genre painting. Portrayed is the poet Mibu no Tadamine (act. ca. 910), accompanied by his famous poem of spring:
Is it just because They say this is the day which marks The coming of spring that the mountains Of fair Yoshino are veiled this morning in haze?
—trans. Robert H. Brower and Earl Miner, Japanese Court Poetry (Stanford University Press, 1961)
[ Harry G. C. Packard , Tokyo, until 1975; donated and sold to MMA].
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Seasonal Pleasures in Japanese Art (Part One)," October 12, 1995–April 28, 1996.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "No Ordinary Mortals: The Human and Not-So-Human Figure in Japanese Art," 1996.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Arts of Japan," 1999.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "A Sensitivity to the Seasons: Spring and Summer," December 17, 2005–June 4, 2006.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Poetry and Travel in Japanese Art," December 18, 2008–May 31, 2009.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "A Beautiful Country: Yamato-e in Japanese Art," November 20, 2010–June 5, 2011.