Artist: Kitagawa Utamaro (喜多川歌麿)

Print: Ōtomo no Kuronushi (大伴黒主) from the series 'Modern Children as the Six Poetic Immortals' - Tōsei kodomo rokkasen (当世子供六歌仙)

Bookmark and Share
Dates: circa 1804 - 1805,created
Dimensions: 10.5 in,15.375 in,Overall dimensions
Medium: Japanese color woodblock print

Signed: Utamaro hitsu (哥麿筆)
Publisher: Izumiya Ichibei
(Marks 180 - seal not listed, but closest to 25-365)
Censor's seal: kiwame

Related links: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Library of Congress; Harvard Art Museums; Muzeum Sztuki i Techniki Japońskiej Manggha, Krakow; Musées Royaux d'Art et d'Histoire; Art Institute of Chicago; Adachi Museum of Art - an Eizan print of the same theme;

Physical description:

This unusual series shows all of the Six Immortal Poets as children being doted upon by adoring adults - almost as though they knew what the future would hold for these toddlers. Of course, in each of these the grownups are dressed in contemporary Japanese clothing dating from the turn of the 19th century.


The wonderful pose of the child may be related to the age-old tradition of Sambasō performances. Jane Marie Law wrote about this: "In some kabuki plays, Sambasō appeared as a clown or as a puppet manipulated by a stage attendant, and one dance piece (shōsagoto) still performed is commonly called The Tongue-Sticking-Out Sambasō (Shitadashi Sambasō), because the dancer does just that in the middle of his performance."