Collection online

Inchu hassen 飲中八仙 (Eight Immortals of the Wine Cup)

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    2011,3025.1.1-2

  • Title (object)

    • Inchu hassen 飲中八仙 (Eight Immortals of the Wine Cup)
  • Description

    Painting, pair of hanging scrolls. The Eight Immortals of the Wine Cup (Li Bai, He Zhizhang, Zhang Xu, Cui Songzhi, Jiao Sui, Li Shizi, Su Jin and Wang Jin) gathered and enjoying various amusements, as described in the poem 'Eight Immortals of the Wine Cup' by Du Fu. Ink and light colours on silk. Inscribed, signed and sealed. With paulownia storage box.

    More 

  • Producer name

  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 19thC(early)
  • Production place

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 109.5 centimetres
    • Width: 37 centimetres
    • Height: 188 centimetres (mount)
    • Width: 56 centimetres (mount)
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

        inscription
      • Inscription Position

        top (right and left scrolls)
      • Inscription Transliteration

        知章騎馬似乗船、眼花落井水底眠。汝陽三斗始朝天、道逢麹車口流涎、恨不移封向酒泉。左相日興費万銭、飲如長鯨吸百川、銜杯楽聖称避賢。宗之瀟灑美少年、挙觴白眼望青天、皎如玉樹臨風前。蘇晋長斎繍仏前、酔中往往愛逃禅。李白一斗詩百篇、長安市上酒家眠。天子呼来不上船、自称臣是酒中仙。張旭三杯草聖伝、脱帽露頂王公前、揮毫落紙如雲煙。焦遂五斗方卓然、高談雄辯驚四筵。

        酔翁生題
      • Inscription Translation

        ‘Ode to the eight immortals of the wine cup’
        (Chinese: Yinzhung baxien ge; Japanese: Inchū hassen ka)
        [Ho] Zhijang sways on his horse as though on a boat; with dazzled eyes he falls into the watery depths of sleep.
        [The king of] Ruyang sets off to court after downing three measures [of wine]; passing a handcart barrel his mouth waters; he regrets that his kingdom does not flow with wine.
        The Premier [Li Shi-zhi] spends ten thousand cash each day [on drink]; his imbibing matches the great whale’s gulping down of the hundred streams; holding the wine cup, joyous sage, he calls himself ‘avoider of the worthy’.
        [Cui] Zongzhi, light-hearted and carefree, handsome young master, raising the wine cup, his white eyes look toward the clear sky, he sways like a jade tree in the wind.
        Su Jin has long been a vegetarian before the embroidered Buddha; when inebriated he often offends against the deity.
        Li Bai drinks one measure [of wine] and writes a hundred poems; he sleeps in a wine shop in Chang’an market; even if the emperor himself should come [to invite him], he would not board [the imperial] barque. He styles himself ‘an immortal of the wine cup’.
        Jang Xu with three cups [of wine] is the master of cursive style; he takes his hat off baring the crown of his head to nobles; he takes up his brush writes on the paper like a fleeting cloud.
        Jiao Sui is never so acute as after five measures of wine; his vivacious eloquence startles all those within the four walls.
      • Inscription Comment

        Trans. Ellis Tinios, Kawamura Bumpō: Artist of Two Worlds, The University Gallery, Leeds, 2003, p. 22.
      • Inscription Type

        inscription
      • Inscription Position

        Storage box and labels attached to paintings
      • Inscription Comment

        Box inscriptions and labels attached to the paintings give the names of three early Japanese owners: Murakami Saburoemon; Nakagawa Seikichi; Nagahama Hikotarō.
      • Inscription Type

        seal
      • Inscription Position

        bottom right (right scroll), bottom left (left scroll)
      • Inscription Content

        運霞
      • Inscription Transliteration

        Unka
      • Inscription Type

        seal
      • Inscription Position

        top (at the end of inscription, left scroll)
      • Inscription Content

        碌翁
      • Inscription Transliteration

        Rokuō
      • Inscription Comment

        This may refer to one Tanahashi Rokuō, who is known to have participated in a ‘calligraphy and painting party’ (shogakai), organised at a temple Zenshō-ji in Ogaki in 1872. Further biographical details of Rokuō are not currently known, so it is not possible to say if the inscription is contemporary with or somewhat later than the painting. If later, then maybe the paintings were remounted at that time.
      • Inscription Type

        signature
      • Inscription Position

        bottom right (right scroll), bottom left (left scroll)
      • Inscription Content

        椿年
      • Inscription Transliteration

        Chinnen
      • Inscription Type

        seal
      • Inscription Position

        top (at the end of inscription, left scroll)
      • Inscription Comment

        unread
  • Curator's comments

    The figures are painted in a free and humorous style, possibly while the painter himself was slightly inebriated, as was popular practice among literati-style artists. The poetic inscription has been brushed above the painting, across the two scrolls. The paintings appear to have their original mountings and storage box, with documentation of several previous historic owners.
    For information on Chinnen, see Jack Hillier, ‘The Ultimate in Shijo: Nanrei and Chinnen’, in The Uninhibited Brush: Japanese Art in the Shijo Style, London, 1974, ch. 15, pp. 306-325; and Timothy T Clark, ‘Utagawa Hiroshige and the Maruyama-Shijo School’, in Amy Reigle Newland, ed., The Commercial and Cultural Climate of Japanese Printmaking, Amsterdam, 2004, pp. 143-164. A brief chronology of Chinnen is given on p. 162

    More 

  • Location

    Not on display

  • Exhibition history

    Exhibited:
    2012 Sep – 2013 Apr, BM G91, ‘Ritual and revelry: the art of drinking in Asia'
    2011 Oct - 2012 Feb, BM Japanese Galleries, 'Japan from Prehistory to the Present'

  • Subjects

  • Associated names

  • Associated places

  • Associated titles

    • Associated Title: Eight Immortals of the Wine Cup (poem)
  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    2011

  • Acquisition notes

    Purchase funded by Edward and Anne Studzinski

  • Department

    Asia

  • Registration number

    2011,3025.1.1-2

  • Additional IDs

    • Jap.Ptg.Add.1279 (Japanese Painting Additional Number)
Painting, pair of hanging scrolls. The eight immortals of the wine cup gathered and enjoying various amusements. Ink and colours on silk. Inscribed, signed and sealed.

Painting, pair of hanging scrolls. The eight immortals of the wine cup gathered and enjoying various amusements. Ink and colours on silk. Inscribed, signed and sealed.

Image description

Recommend


Feedback

If you’ve noticed a mistake or have any further information about this object, please email: collectiondatabase@britishmuseum.org 

View open data for this object with SPARQL endpoint

Object reference number: JCF22806

British Museum collection data is also available in the W3C open data standard, RDF, allowing it to join and relate to a growing body of linked data published by organisations around the world.

View this object

Support the Museum:
donate online

The Museum makes its collection database available to be used by scholars around the world. Donations will help support curatorial, documentation and digitisation projects.

About the database

The British Museum collection database is a work in progress. New records, updates and images are added every week.

More about the database 

Supporters

Work on this database is supported by a range of sponsors, donors and volunteers.

More about supporters and how you
can help  

Loading...