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The Six Immortal Poets

circa 1830


  • Details

    Place where the work was made
    Edo (Tokugawa) period 1615 - 1868 → Japan
    circa 1830
    Media categories
    Scroll , Painting
    Materials used
    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.

    Purchased 1983
    Not on display
    Accession number

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Hokusai pupils

    Works in the collection


  • About

    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
    Cracked together.'

    '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.

  • Places

    Where the work was made


  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 3 exhibitions

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 4 publications