man on horseback with attendant; Mt. Fuji in the background

Narihira Riding Below Fuji, c. 1820


Ink and color on silkexpand_more

Bequest of Richard P. Galeexpand_more  74.1.252

Not on Viewexpand_more

Sakai Hōitsu was the son of the Lord of Himeiji. After mastering several painting styles, he became interested in the decorative Rinpa school, named after one of its greatest masters, Ogata Korin. Searching out remaining works by Korin, who had died forty-five years before Hōitsu'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'

Narihira Riding Below Fuji
Artist Life
1761 - 1828
Accession Number
Curator Approved

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man on horseback with attendant; Mt. Fuji in the background