An image of The Poet Rinnasei

attrib. Soga SHÔHAKU

(Japan  – )

The Poet Rinnasei

Other titles:
Man standing with hands behind back
Not on display
Further information

Shôhaku often took his subjects from Chinese mythology, with a noted preference for recluses, eccentrics and such well-known figures as the Daoist Eight Immortals. Here he has chosen the Chinese poet Lin Hexing (in Japanese, Rinnasei) who, although described as a poet, did not want to leave his poems to posterity and hence never committed them to paper. The poet has his back to the viewer, absorbed in his own musings. His unkempt hair and beard, and plain, voluminous robes - realised in the assured, scratchy brushstroke typical of Shôhaku's style - emphasise the poet's indifference to accepted standards of appearance and behaviour. Together with Nagasawa Rosetsu and Ito Jakuchu, Shôhaku is considered one of the three 'eccentrics' of 18th century painting who refused to belong to one of the large studios.

The Asian Collections, AGNSW, 2003, pg.236.

Soga Shôhaku is considered as one of the 'three eccentrics' of the 18th century alongside Itô Jakuchû and Nagasawa Rosetsu. As he was a very popular artist, many paintings are attributed to him as this one from the Meiji period. This painting has a faked seal - on the original seal the bottom line becomes thicker towards the right.

Place of origin
Japan: Meiji period 1868–1912
19th century
Painting, Calligraphy
hanging scroll; ink on paper
129.8 x 49.6 cm image; 219.8 x 65.4 x 71.6 cm scroll
Signature & date

Signed: "Heian Kishin-sai, Soga Shôhaku Dôjin, Taira-no TERUTAKA zu [Kishin-sai, Taoist Soga Shôhaku, Taira-no DERUTAKA from Kyoto painted (this)]" and "Jasoku-ken Shôhaku [artist's seal]". Not dated. ink. Note that this inscription is in Japanese and was translated by YOSHIDA Haruki, an independent scholar, Canberra. "Kishin-sai" amd "Jasoku-ken" are Shôhaku's studio names. "Taira-no TERUTAKA" is his pseudnym.

Gift of the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs 1963
Accession number