Tartars Playing Polo

Kano Eisen'in Furunobu 狩野永川院古 Japanese

Not on view

Along with hunting, polo exercised great appeal as a subject for poets, painters, and craftsmen in ancient China. During the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, hundreds of years after the sport's decline in the region, polo made a sudden reappearance as a subject for painting in Japan. The burgeoning warrior class favored such ancient themes as Tartars playing polo and Tartars hunting for decorations in their new castles and mansions.

Unlike the grand-scale Momoyama (1573–1615) screen paintings on sumptuous gold backgrounds, this work is quite modest in its execution. The landscape details that usually accompanied Momoyama polo scenes are absent, so that the equestrians, captured as they strike characteristic polo postures, seem like quick studies of pure form.

Tartars Playing Polo, Kano Eisen'in Furunobu 狩野永川院古 (Japanese, 1696–1731), Hanging scroll; ink and color on silk, Japan

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.