Thirty-Six Poets at Leisure

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Artist: Matsumura Goshun 松村呉春 (1752-1811)
Historical period(s)
Edo period, late 18th-early 19th century
Ink and color on paper
H x W (image): 39.9 x 757.7 cm (15 11/16 x 298 5/16 in)
Credit Line
Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Robert Feinberg
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view


Edo period (1615 - 1868), Japan, poems, poet, WWII-era provenance
Provenance research underway.

This scroll is a preparatory drawing sketched by the master, Goshun, and filled with annotations--presumably addressed to assistants--about appropriate spacing between figures and application of color.

The poets are rendered in a light-hearted and comic manner as the artist imagines how these ancient and revered figures of the Japanese cultural pantheon might have relaxed.

In an introductory note, Goshun writes that his painting and text are dependent on a work by the poet-painter Hinaya Ryuho (1599-1669). Rather than following the custom of borrowing representative poetry from existing anthologies, Ryuho created his own poems, attributed them to the ancients, and inscribed them next to his images of the poets. Goshun uses Ryuho's poetry verbatim in the scroll exhibited here.

Published References
  • Thomas Lawton, Thomas W. Lentz. Beyond the Legacy: Anniversary Acquisitions for the Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery. vol. 1 Washington, 1998. pp. 320-323.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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