Portrait of Yamamoto Kansuke

Artist: Gion Seitoku (?-1827)
Historical period(s)
Edo period, late 18th-early 19th century
Ink and color on paper
H x W (image): 123.6 x 39 cm (48 11/16 x 15 3/8 in)
Credit Line
Purchase — funds provided by the Friends of Asian Arts and the Smithsonian Collections Acquisition Program
Freer Gallery of Art Collection
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Hanging scroll

Edo period (1615 - 1868), Japan, kakemono, portrait

To 1995
David Newman, London, acquired from a private Japanese collection, to 1995 [1]

From 1995
Freer Gallery of Art, purchased from David Newman in 1995


[1] According to Curatorial Note 3 in the object record.

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

David Newman


Legend holds that Yamamoto Kansuke, a brilliant military strategist described  as homely, crippled, and blind in one eye, served the warlord Takeda Shigen (1521-1573).  In 1561 Kansuke took responsibility for losses caused by his flawed battle plan  and retrieved his honor by offering his own life.

In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the Kansuke legend was depicted in  kabuki plays and woodblock prints. This unusual format of a painted portrait was created by an artist best known for his depictions of pleasure district courtesans. This painting complements a more typical Japanese painting of a beautiful woman, known as a "beauty" painting, by Seitoku, which is already in the Freer collection.

Published References
  • et al. Nikuhitsu Ukiyo-e. 10 vols., Tokyo. vol. 9: pl. 13.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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