An image of The Six Immortal Poets

Hokusai pupils

(Japan  – )

The Six Immortal Poets

Not on display
Further information

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.

Place of origin
Japan: Edo (Tokugawa) period 1615–1868
circa 1830
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
Accession number