Portraits of Court Nobles (公家列影図)

Portraits of Court Nobles (called "Kugeretsueizu" or "Kokeretsueizu" in Japanese) is a book of portraits that is thought to have been compiled in the Kamakura period. It is a one-volume book. Its size is 36.8 centimeters by 522.5 centimeters. It is held by the Kyoto National Museum as an Important Cultural Property.

It contains nise-e (Kamakura-period realistic portraitures of courtiers and warriors painted in the Yamato-e style) of 57 of 66 ministers appointed between 1137 and 1252 (the nine missing ministers are said to be Ietada KAZANIN, Munetada NAKAMIKADO, Sanefusa SANJO, Kanemasa KAZANIN, Kanefusa TAKANO, Tadachika NAKAYAMA, Yoshitsune KUJO, Yorizane OINOMIKADO and Iezane KONOE.)
There are two widely held explanations regarding the missing ministers: that they were never actually painted, and that their portraits were lost in the process of transcribing the book. As with "Tenshi Sekkan Miei" (portraits of the regents and the chief advisers to the emperors), only the minister in the upper right of the opening page, FUJIWARA no Tadamichi (who was in 1137 the chief adviser to the Emperor), turns his face toward the end of the book. The other ministers form two rows in order of appointment, facing each other and turning their faces toward the beginning of the book. The fifty-seventh minister, Sadamasa KAZANIN, is painted in the lower right of the last page (the first row consists of 29 ministers, including FUJIWARA no Tadamichi, and the second row consists of 28 ministers). The portraits are painted chiefly in black ink, except for the lips and cheeks painted in red ink. It is said that name tags were once attached to the ministers' left shoulders, but they have all fallen off. The last page of the book is inscribed with 'Nenchu gyoji chakuza (deputy of the chief retainer of annual events), painted by FUJIWARA no Nobuzane' as the author and title. However, these were added later, after the compilation of the book, and the title is not consistent with the contents. There is an unconfirmed theory that the work was authored by FUJIWARA no Korenobu.

[Original Japanese]