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.
Signature: Koson Fujiwara
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Masterpieces of Japanese Art from The Mary Griggs Burke Collection," March 30, 2000–June 25, 2000.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Great Waves: Chinese Themes in the Arts of Korea and Japan II," March 22, 2003–September 21, 2003.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Designing Nature: The Rinpa Aesthetic in Japanese Art," May 26, 2012–January 13, 2013.