An image of (Portraits of six poetesses)

Watanabe Nangaku

(Japan 1767 – 1813)

(Portraits of six poetesses)

Other titles:
Portraits of six women
Not on display
Further information

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.

Place of origin
Japan: Edo (Tokugawa) period 1615–1868
18th century-19th century
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
Accession number