- Museum number
- Object: Sanjurokkasen 三十六歌仙 (The Thirty-six Immortals of Poetry)
Illustrated book. One volume. Imaginary portraits of thirty-six poets selected by Fujiwara no Kinto, with poem. Woodblock-printed.]
- Production date
- 1610 (circa)
Height: 32.80 centimetres
Width: 25.80 centimetres
- Curator's comments
The 'Thirty-Six Immortals of Poetry' is the canonical list of famous exponents of native waka poetry, compiled by the courtier Fujiwara no Kinto (996-1041) in the mid-Heian Period. Seated portraits of the poets with their most famous verses inscribed above, known as kasen-e, were done in large numbers from the subsequent Kamakura Period (1185-1333) onwards. This album, attributed to the early 17th century calligrapher Hon'ami Koetsu, certainly reflects Koetsu's efforts towards the revival of courtly Heian Period styles of waka calligraphy. Depicted here is an imaginary contest between Ono no Komachi (right) and Fujiwara no Asatada (left). (Label copy, TTC 1997)
Hillier and Smith 1980
Imaginary portraits of the thirty-six poets selected by Fujiwara no Kinto, c. AD 1000, each with a poem above. The illustrations have been attributed to Tosa Mitsushige, and the calligraphy to Koetsu. This copy is a recut version closely following the original of c. 1610 and probably of seventeenth-century date. One of the first true masterpieces of fapanese black and white graphic printing.
Brown, Louise Norton, 'Block Printing and Book Illustration in Japan', London and New York, 1924, p. 25.
Toda, Kenji, 'Descriptive Catalogue of the Japanese and Chinese Illustrated Books in the Ryerson Library of the Art Institute of Chicago', Chicago, 1931, p. 18.
Wada, Koreshiro, 'Saga-bon ko', Tokyo, 1916.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Previous owner/ex-collection number: JH.3 (Hillier no.)