Skip to content


An image of The Poet Rinnasei by attrib. Soga SHÔHAKU

attrib. Soga SHÔHAKU

(Japan  – )

The Poet Rinnasei
Other titles:
Man standing with hands behind back
Place of origin
Meiji period 1868 - 1912 → Japan
19th century
Media categories
Painting, Calligraphy
Materials used
hanging scroll; ink on paper

129.8 x 49.6 cm image; 219.8 x 65.4 x 71.6 cm scroll

Signature & date
Signed: "Heian Kishin-sai, Soga Shôhaku Dôjin, Taira-no TERUTAKA zu [Kishin-sai, Taoist Soga Shôhaku, Taira-no DERUTAKA from Kyoto painted (this)]" and "Jasoku-ken Shôhaku [artist's seal]". Not dated. ink. Note that this inscription is in Japanese and was translated by YOSHIDA Haruki, an independent scholar, Canberra. "Kishin-sai" amd "Jasoku-ken" are Shôhaku's studio names. "Taira-no TERUTAKA" is his pseudnym.
Gift of the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs 1963
Accession number
Not on display
Further information

Shôhaku often took his subjects from Chinese mythology, with a noted preference for recluses, eccentrics and such well-known figures as the Daoist Eight Immortals. Here he has chosen the Chinese poet Lin Hexing (in Japanese, Rinnasei) who, although described as a poet, did not want to leave his poems to posterity and hence never committed them to paper. The poet has his back to the viewer, absorbed in his own musings. His unkempt hair and beard, and plain, voluminous robes - realised in the assured, scratchy brushstroke typical of Shôhaku's style - emphasise the poet's indifference to accepted standards of appearance and behaviour. Together with Nagasawa Rosetsu and Ito Jakuchu, Shôhaku is considered one of the three 'eccentrics' of 18th century painting who refused to belong to one of the large studios.

The Asian Collections, AGNSW, 2003, pg.236.

Soga Shôhaku is considered as one of the 'three eccentrics' of the 18th century alongside Itô Jakuchû and Nagasawa Rosetsu. As he was a very popular artist, many paintings are attributed to him as this one from the Meiji period. This painting has a faked seal - on the original seal the bottom line becomes thicker towards the right.

Bibliography (4)

Edmund Capon, The Connoisseur, 'Far Eastern Art in the Art Gallery of New South Wales', pg. 22-29, London, May 1980, 26 (illus.).

Jackei Menzies, The Australian Antique Collector, 'Recent Japanese Acquisitions at the Art Gallery of New South Wales', pg. 90-95, Chippendale, Jan 1981-Jun 1981, 92 (illus.).

Jackie Menzies, Art of the Brush - Chinese & Japanese painting calligraphy, Sydney, 1995, 19.

Jackie Menzies (Editor), The Asian Collections Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'Edo Painting Schools', Sydney, 2003, 236 (colour illus.).

Exhibition history (1)

Art of the brush, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 23 Sep 1995–12 Nov 1995