Portraits of Thirty-six Immortal Poets

Iwasa Matabei (1578-1650)
Japan, 17th century
H. 21.0 cm, W. 21.6 cm each

Iwasa Matabei, a painter active during the Edo period (1615-1868), was the son of Araki Murashige (d. 1586), a general of the Warring States period (1467-1567), who plotted treason against the powerful warlord, Oda Nobunaga (1534-82). After his father's failed revolt, Matabei took on his mother's surname, Iwasa. Although he studied the Tosa and Kano schools, he painted freely not conforming to their formal styles and techniques. Matabei was patronized by the families of the shogun and warlords, and influenced town painters, gaining the popular name, "Ukiyo Matabei." His highly individualistic expression of figures, especially those with oblong faces and plump cheeks, are well known. Although the artist painted several sets of the thirty-six immortal poets, this distinctive series, in which the features of the poets are extremely deformed and exaggerated, is considered one of Matabei's earliest paintings of the thirty-six immortals and is also among his most important works.

Chinese Farewell Verse
Genre Scenes of Westerners
The Immortal Jurojin
Wu Huntress
Portraits of Thirty-six Immortal Poets
Jar with Ash Glaze, Sanage Ware
Tea Bowl, Named Jirobo, Raku Ware
Standing Buddha
Wide-Mouthed Jar
Buffalo-shaped Yi (Wine Container)
"Corpulent Woman" from Scroll of Diseases and Deformities
Tea Ceremony Kettle Made from Incense Burner, Old Ashiya Ware
Keko (Buddhist Flower Basket) with Openwork Hosoge Scrolls
Ikat Hanging with Design of Temples and Animals
Sarassa Hanging with Scene from the Tale of Krishna
Saddle with Wave Design in Mother-of-Pearl Inlay
Seated Maitreya Bodhisattva with One Leg Pendent
Mottled-glazed Bowl with Handle and Openwork Design
Gourd-shaped Jar with Flower-and-Bird Design
Mukozuke Bowls in Melon Shape with Underglaze-Iron and Copper
-Green Melon Design