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Loan Object
Artist: Yashima Gakutei, Japanese, ca. 1786–ca. 1855

Eight Drunken Immortals (Inchū hassen), from the series Ten Famous Numbers (Meisū jūban)

ca. 1823

Surimono, shikishi-ban; polychrome woodblock print with silver and gauffrage

sheet: 8 7/16 × 7 5/16 in. (21.4 × 18.5 cm)
Promised gift of Virginia Shawan Drosten and Patrick Kenadjian, B.A. 1970

八島岳亭 「名数十番 飲中八仙」 江戸時代

“The Song of the Eight Drunken Immortals,” by the celebrated eighth-century Chinese poet Du Fu, was esteemed in Japan. The poem’s high regard derives partly from the Japanese love of sake. In Japanese culture, intoxication from wine does not carry the guilt that it does in some more stoic societies. The merchant class, placed by the Tokugawa government at the bottom of the social strata despite its increased wealth, responded to popular taste and established the wine industry during this period. “The Song of the Eight Drunken Immortals” lauds eight men who loved to drink; their untrammeled character under the influence was cherished, particularly during this peaceful period. The immortal standing at the upper right is likely the eighth poet, Jiao Sui, who becomes eloquent after drinking five measures (more than twenty-three gallons) of wine.

Edo period (1615–1868)
Works on Paper - Prints

Collection of Virginia Shawan Drosten and Patrick Kenadjian.


Sadako Ohki and Adam Haliburton, The Private World of Surimono: Japanese Prints from the Virginia Shawan Drosten and Patrick Kenadjian Collection (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2020), 49–51, no. 8, ill.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.