In the poetry tradition, some outstanding poets have been worshipped as 'immortals'. The most popular groupings are the Six Immortal Poets and the Thirty-Six Immortal Poets. Both are popularly portrayed in paintings and other arts. The painting is an example of the collaborative works so popular with artists and poets and so often created at literary and artistic gatherings. Six artists drew the portraits and the literary scholar Rokujuen contributed a comic poem:
'In the Kokin Preface
You can here the sound
The Six Poets made
When their heads
'Kokin' refers to a 10th century poetry anthology which names the six poets as 'famous poets of recent times'.
The Asian Collections, AGNSW, 2003, pg.201.
Place where the work was made
hanging scroll; ink and colour on weathered paper
94.0 x 28.5 cm image; 177.5 x 31.0 x 35.9 cm scroll
Signature & date
Signed l.l. to l.r., in Japanese, ink [inscribed by six different artists] "Hokuga ga [picture by Hokuga]", "Shunkô-tei hitsu [drawn by Shunkô-tei]", "Hokuei ga [picture by Hokuei]", "Hasegawa sekkô ga [picture by Hasegawa Sekkô]", and "Hokuju ga [picture by Hokuju]" [and each has there own artist's seal]. Not dated.
Not on display
Where the work was made
Shown in 3 exhibitions
The Floating World: Japan's World of transient pleasures, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 25 May 1994–17 Jul 1994
Art of the brush, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 23 Sep 1995–12 Nov 1995
Conversations through the Asian collections, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 25 Oct 2014–13 Mar 2016
Referenced in 4 publications
Art of the Brush - Chinese & Japanese painting calligraphy, Sydney, 1995, 24.
The Floating World: Japan's world of transient pleasures, Sydney, 1994. cat.no. L4
The Asian Collections Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'The aesthetic of transience', Sydney, 2003, 201 (colour illus.).
Asian Collection Handbook, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'Japanese Painting', pg. 53-69, Sydney, 1990, 64 (illus.).