Narihira Riding Below Fuji
On View In:
Gallery 219
Artist:   Hōitsu Sakai  
Title:   Narihira Riding Below Fuji  
Date:   c. 1820  
Medium:   Ink and color on silk  
Dimensions:   48 7/16 x 23 1/4 in. (123.03 x 59.06 cm) (image) 82 1/2 x 32 1/2 in. (209.55 x 82.55 cm) (sheet)  
Credit Line:   Bequest of Richard P. Gale  
Location:   Gallery 219  

Sakai Ho_itsu was the son of the Lord of Himeiji. After mastering several painting styles, he became interested in the decorative Rimpa school, named after one of its greatest masters, Ogata Korin. Searching out remaining works by Korin, who had died forty-five years before Ho_itsu's birth, he published a woodblock book of Korin's works. This painting, with its classical theme, softly rounded forms and beautiful colors, continues the style championed by Korin.

The painting illustrates Ariwara Narihira (825-80), the famously handsome ninth century poet who, it is said, was banished from court for having an affair with an imperial consort. While traveling to his exile in the deep north, Narihira passed beneath Mount Fuji, cloaked in newly fallen snow. Noting the strangeness of snow so close to summer, Narihira composed the following poem:

Fuji is a mountain

that has no sense of time.

What season does it take this for

That it should be dappled with newly fallen snow?

Name:   Sakai, Hōitsu  
Nationality:   Japanese  
Life Dates:   Japanese, 1761 - 1828  

Object Description  
Inscriptions:   Signature and Stamps in black ink: [Hoitsu Kishin] LLQ, in red: [Uka], seal; LLQ, in red: [Oson], seal  
Classification:   Paintings  
Physical Description:   man on horseback with attendant; Mt. Fuji in the background  
Creation Place:   Asia, Japan, , ,  
Accession #:   74.1.252  
Owner:   The Minneapolis Institute of Arts