Imperial Anthology, Kokinshu

Scroll, consisting of 11 sheets of poems removed from backs of 4 doors, F1903.138-141, inclusive. Makimono.

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Artist: Tawaraya Sōtatsu 俵屋宗達 (fl. ca. 1600-1643)
Calligrapher: Hon'ami Kōetsu 本阿弥光悦 (1558-1637)
Historical period(s)
Momoyama period, early 1600s
Handscroll; ink, gold, silver, and mica on paper
H x W (image): 33 x 968.3 cm (13 x 381 1/4 in)
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view


crane, Japan, makimono, Momoyama period (1573 - 1615)

To 1903
Bunshichi Kobayashi (circa 1861-1923), Boston, San Francisco, Tokyo, and Yokohama, to 1903 [1]

From 1903 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from Bunshichi Kobayashi in 1903 [2]

From 1920
Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Charles Lang Freer in 1920 [3]


[1] See Voucher 26, October 1903, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives. See also, Accession List, Collections Management office.

[2] See note 1.

[3] The original deed of Charles Lang Freer's gift was signed in 1906. The collection was received in 1920 upon the completion of the Freer Gallery.

Previous Owner(s)

Charles Lang Freer 1854 - 1919
Bunshichi Kobayashi (C.L. Freer source) circa 1861 - 1923


Scroll, consisting of 11 sheets of poems removed from backs of 4 doors, F1903.138-141, inclusive. Makimono.


A collaborative work combining fine handmade paper, woodblock-printed designs in gold and silver, and calligraphy, this handscroll was reassembled from sheets that had been pasted in sections on the back of set of sliding paper doors (fusuma). Innovative artistic techniques were developed by the collaboration of a talented group of artists in Kyoto during the early seventeenth century. Sotatsu, a painter of fans and large folding screens, favored a painting technique that used pigments with water to create a pooled effect. These woodblock-printed designs of vines, cranes, and bamboo employ a similar techique. Control of scale, rhythm, and ink tone in Koetsu's calligraphy of Japanese poems provides a dynamic counterpoint to the underlying design.

Published References
  • Fu Shen, Glenn D. Lowry, Ann Yonemura, Thomas Lawton. From Concept to Context: Approaches to Asian and Islamic Calligraphy. Exh. cat. Washington. 28, 84-85.
  • Helen Nebeker Tomlinson. West Meets East: Charles L. Freer Trailblazing Asian Art Collector. Herndon, VA. Cover.
  • Masterpieces of Chinese and Japanese Art: Freer Gallery of Art handbook. Washington, 1976. p. 118.
  • Dr. John Alexander Pope, Thomas Lawton, Harold P. Stern. The Freer Gallery of Art. 2 vols., Washington and Tokyo, 1971-1972. cat. 37, p. 164.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
Rights Statement

Copyright with museum

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