Jul 25, 2014

Kuronushi from the series The New Six Immortal Poets

Kuronushi from the series The New Six Immortal Poets

新六歌仙 黒主

c. 1795

Chōbunsai Eishi 鳥文斎栄之

(Japanese, 1756–1829)

Color woodblock print

Sheet: 33.4 x 20.5 cm (13 1/8 x 8 1/16 in.)

The Fanny Tewksbury King Collection 1956.755



This print shows a courtesan adjusting her hairdo before a mirror as her attendant looks on. In the cartouche next to her is a poem by Ōtomo no Kuronishi, a Heian period courtier celebrated as one of the Six Immortal Poets. His portrait and name appear in the disk-shaped title cartouche.

The poem reads: "Mirror Mountain / Has been raised high / To show us all / Our Lord will live a thousand years!" The poem appears in the Anthology of Ancient and Modern Verse (Kokinwakashū) with a note that it was sung at the investiture of the Emperor Daigo (885-930). Here, the courtesan could be perceived as a stand-in for the emperor, making this a rather risqué print.

See also
Japanese Art
Japanese Art
Type of artwork: 

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