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(Portraits of six poetesses)

18th century-19th century


Watanbe Nangaku


1767 – 1813

  • Details

    Other Title
    Portraits of six women
    Place where the work was made
    Edo (Tokugawa) period 1615 - 1868 → Japan
    18th century-19th century
    Media categories
    Scroll , Painting
    Materials used
    hanging scroll; ink, colours and gold on silk
    44.3 x 66.0 cm image; 155.5 x 84.3 x 96.7 cm scroll
    Signature & date

    Signed c.l., in Japanese [inscribed in ink] "Nangaku [artist's seal]". Not dated.

    Purchased 1980
    Lower Asian gallery
    Accession number

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Watanbe Nangaku

    Works in the collection


  • About

    Watanabe Nangaku was one of Okyo's ten most noted pupils. Okyo and his large studio fulfilled many commissions for 'bijin-ga' (paintings of beautiful women), professional-style paintings that were the Kyoto equivalent of Edo 'ukiyo-e' paintings and would have been commissioned by the Kyoto equivalent of the Edo townspeople. Nangaku was also significant for initiating Edo artists into the Kyoto-based Maruyama school while on a three-year sojourn there.

    Compositions of six female portraits are uncommon, and while an Edo artist may have done it as a 'mitate' (parody) on the classical theme of the Six Immortal Poets ('Rokkasen'), Nangaku has treated his work as a group portrait. The women are believed to include two courtesans from Shimabara, Kyoto's entertainment district, the mother of painter Ike Taiga (lower left), and a peasant from the Ohara village, which provided Kyoto with brushwood for winter fires.

  • Places

    Where the work was made


  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 2 exhibitions

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 4 publications