Special Exhibition
The Thirty-Six Immortal Poets
Elegant Arts of the Classical Japanese Court

October 2, 2019 to November 24, 2019

Exactly one hundred years ago, in 1919, Japan’s newspapers were abuzz with extraordinary news. A group of industrialist connoisseurs had acquired one of the country’s most precious art treasures: a set of thirteenth-century handscrolls known as the Satake Version, Thirty-Six Immortal Poets. Even more surprising was the fact that these wealthy financiers were going to separate the handscrolls into individual fragments to be divided amongst themselves and remounted as hanging scrolls for private use in their own tearooms.
Thereafter, to possess one of these Satake fragments came to be seen as the ultimate Japanese status symbol, defining its owner as an undisputed member of the country’s cultural elite. Over the course of the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, the paintings moved from private collection to private collection, their whereabouts often unknown even to specialists.
This exhibition re-unites these paintings in the most comprehensive assemblage ever held since their dispersal a century ago. In addition to the legendary fragments themselves, the show features an array of exquisite artworks related to the Thirty-Six Immortal Poets and the elegant literary court culture from which they developed.




Kyoto National Museum

Kyoto National Museum

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527 Chaya-cho,
Kyoto, 605-0931
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