Summary of Japanese Painting History
- 1 Asuka Period (592-710)
- 2 Nara Period (710-794)
- 3 Heian Period (794-1185)
- 4 Kamakura Period (1185-1333)
- 5 Kenmu Restoration (1333-1336)
- 6 Muromachi Period (1336-1573)
- 7 Azuchi-Momoyama Period (1573-1603)
- 8 Edo Period (1603-1868)
- 9 Meiji Period (1868-1912)
- 10 Taishō Period (1912-1926)
- 11 Shōwa Period (1926-1989)
- 11.1 The Early Part: the 1920s to the 1930s → Study of Japanese Classical Paintings
- 11.2 The Middle Part: During the War (1935-1945)
- 11.3 The Latter Part: After the War
- 11.4 Related
Asuka Period (592-710)
Introduction of Buddhism
Around 538: King Seong of Baekje presented the dynasty with a Shaka Buddhist image and the Buddhist scriptures and commentaries, and Buddhism was officially introduced to Japan.
→ Started to produce Buddhist paintings. (wall paintings, crafted products, etc.)
Nara Period (710-794)
Buddhist Paintings Became Prosperous.
Kentōshi (Japanese missions to Tang China), *Chingokokka
*Chingokokka : a government policy to stabilize internal affairs using Buddhism or a thought that Buddhism has power to protect and stabilize a country.
Heian Period (794-1185)
The Early Part: Esoteric Buddhism paintings
794: The capital was moved from Nara to Kyōto to eliminate the influence of Nara Buddhism.
→ Shingon sect became pupular. → Esoteric Buddhism paintings became prosperous.
The Latter Part: Aristocratic Culture
Kokufū Bunka (Japan’s Original National Culture)
894: The Kentōshi was abolished. → *Yamato-e paintings developed.
In the latter half of the 9th century, during the Heian period, as court culture became more Japanized, paintings depicting scenery characteristic of Japan began to appear in response to the demand for paintings that express Japanese sentiments. From about the end of the 10th century, this kind of painting, inheriting the style of the Heian period, began to be called yamato-e, to distinguish it from the Chinese painting/Chinese-style paintings (later known as kanga), or paintings with Chinese themes that were influenced by Song and Yuan painting styles. The style of the yamato-e paintings were transmitted through edokoro (official bureau of painting) which had been in charge of court paintings since the Heian period. When the Tosa family inherited the administration of the edokoro (the courtly office for paintings) in the Muromachi period, the word yamato-e began to be used to refer not only to themes and style, but also to the concepts of the Tosa School.
Amida Raigō-zu (Image of the Descent of Amida Buddha)
The belief of Amida ‘if someone believes in Amida Nyorai, he will come and guide the person to the heavens at the time of death’ became popular in the middle Heian period, and many Amida Raigō-zu were painted.
Emakimono (literally ‘picture scroll’)
- Genji Monogatari Emaki
- Ban Dainagon Ekotoba
- Chōjū Jinbutsu Giga
Kamakura Period (1185-1333)
Introduction of Zen Paintings and Suibokuga Ink Wash Paintings from Song Dynasty
- Trade between Japan and the Song Dynasty
- Zen monk came from Southern Song dynasty.
→ Introduction of Zen Buddhism → Zen paintings / e.g. chinzō (commemorative portraits of Zen masters), paintings of Bodhidharma, etc
→ Introduction of Suibokuga ink wash paintings / e.g. Sansui-ga landscape paintings, kachō-ga flowers & birds paintings, etc
Kenmu Restoration (1333-1336)
Muromachi Period (1336-1573)
The Early Part: Culture of Song and Yuan Dynasties Became Prosperous.
Painters, who had a close relation with the Ashikaga Shōgun family, showed: Josetsu
The Middle Part: Higashiyama Culture by Ashikaga Yoshimasa
- Nōami, Geiami, Sōami: ‘Dōbōshū’ (a kind of advisor on arts, as good consultant of things imported from China), who served the Ashikaga Shogun Family.
- Tenshō Shūbun: Goyō-eshi (official painter) of the Ashikaga Shogun Family
- Sesshū Tōyō (1420-1506): Studied under Shūbun; then moved to Suō province. Studied Chinese paintings in Ming Dynasty.
- Oguri Sōtan (1413-1481): Became goyō-eshi after Shūbun.
- Kanō Masanobu (1434?-1530): The founder of the Kanō school. Became goyō-eshi after Oguri Sōtan.
- Tosa Mitsunobu (1434?-1525): Yamato-e painter. Became Kyūtei Edokoro azukari (Head of the Courtly Office for Paintings). Originator of the restoration of the Tosa school.
The Latter Part: Foundation For the Prosperity of Kanō School Was Established.
Azuchi-Momoyama Period (1573-1603)
4 Great Masters of the Japanese Art World from the Momoyama Period
Sengoku daimyō (Japanese territorial lord in the *Sengoku period) built their castles with luxurious, splendid and decorative wall and sliding screen paintings to show their power.
*Sengoku period: 1467-1590
- Kanō Eitoku (1543-1590): A leading painter of the Kanō school (a painting school that served as a focal point for the art circles of Japan from the Muromachi period through to the Edo period) and remains one of the best-known painters in the history of Japanese art. As the head of Kanō school, Eitoku served Oda Nobunaga and Toyotomi Hideyoshi, who took control of the country, and he created wall paintings for places such as Azuchi-jō Castle, Jurakudai residence and Ōsaka-jō Castle.
- Hasegawa Tōhaku (1539-1610): Rival of Kanō Eitoku. Many of his works were apparently affected by Muqi, and his best work Shōrinzu Byōbu (folding screen with the painting of pine tree forest) is the fruits of his study.
- Kaihō Yūshō (1533-1615): Specialized in dragon paintings. Priest, samurai (warrior) and painter. Dragon paintings of the Kennin-ji temple in Kyōto is his representative works.
- Unkoku Tōgan (1547-1618): Painter in the service of the Mōri family and who had inherited the artistic style of Sesshū Tōyō.
Survival Strategy for Kanō School
→ Survival Strategy for Kanō School: Decentralized the Kanō family and served 3 major authorities (the Imperial Court, the Toyotomi family and the Tokugawa family) in those days separately.
→ After Toyotomi Hideyoshi died, Tokugawa Ieyasu took over power through the victory of the Battle of Sekigahara.
→ Kanō Tan-yū, who had been close relationship with the Tokugawa family, solidified the position of the Kanō school in the art world more as the official painter goyō-eshi of the Edo shogunate.
Edo Period (1603-1868)
Various Painting Styles Were Born during the Peaceful Edo period.
- Kanō School: Prospered under the patronage of the Edo shogunate but got into a rut a little.
- Tosa School: In 1654, Tosa Mitsuoki became the Kyūtei Edokoro Azukari (Head of the Courtly Office for Paintings), and revived the Tosa school which had been the mainstream of Yamato-e painting, but the school got into a rut a little.
- Rinpa School: Tawaraya Sōtatsu → Ogata Kōrin → Sakai Hōitsu → Suzuki Kiitsu
- Ukiyo-e: Hishikawa Moronobu → Suzuki Harunobu, Katsukawa Shunshō → Kitagawa Utamaro, Tōshūsai Sharaku → Katsushika Hokusai, Utagawa Hiroshige → Utagawa Kuniyoshi
- Nanga: Ikeno Taiga, Yosa Buson, Tani Bunchō
- Maruyama-Shijō School: Maruyama Ōkyo, Matsumura Goshun
- Eccentric Painters: Itō Jakuchū, Soga Shōhaku, Nagasawa Rosetsu
- Nanpin School: Shen Nanpin → Kumashiro Yūhi, Sō Shiseki
Meiji Period (1868-1912)
The Dawn of Nihonga Japanese-style Paintings → Foundation of the Nihon Bijutsu-in
Painter’s Hardship due to the Meiji Restoration:
- Loss of patrons due to the collapse of the shogunate system.
- The value of Japanese art decline due to Westernization influence.
- Destruction due to Haibutsu-kishaku (a movement to abolish Buddhism)
→ Resuscitation: Foundation of the Ryūchikai group (1878)… old school
→ Ernest Francisco Fenollosa and Okakura Tenshin: Foundation of the Kangakai group… Improvement of conventional Japanese-style paintings by adding characteristics of Western paintings → Kanō Hōgai, Hashimoto Gahō
→ Foundation of the Tōkyō Bijutsu Gakkō (Tokyo School of Fine Arts) / The first principal = Okakura Tenshin
→ Trouble of the Tōkyō Bijutsu Gakkō (1898) → The dawnfall of Okakura Tenshin → Okakura Tenshin founded the Nihon Bijutsuin organization with Yokoyama Taikan, Hishida Shunsō, Shimomura Kanzan, Hashimoto Gahō, etc. → new school
Start of the Bunten Exhibition
After winning the Sino-Japanese War and Russo-Japanese War, Japan became one of the great world powers.
→ Necessity of world-class Japanese art → Start of the Bunten (Ministry of Education Arts Exhibition) in 1907
Taishō Period (1912-1926)
Re-Evaluation of Tawaraya Sōtatsu
Tawaraya Sōtatsu is considered to be an artist who was modeled by Ogata Kōrin and the founder of the Rinpa school; however, there was not a high general opinion of his work through to the Meiji Period (to July 1912), with Ogata Kōrin’s paintings being considered to be of a higher grade. For this reason, many of his works, including his famous Matsushima-zu Byōbu (a folding screen: Waves at Matsushima) were exported overseas. In 1913, he was rediscovered at the Tawaraya Sōtatsu Kinenkai exhibition by the Nihon Bijutsukyōkai, and many painters were affected by his decorative painting style.
Revival of the Nihon Bijutsu-in
The Nihon Bijutsu-in organization didn’t hold any exhibition after 1903. In addition, Okakura Tenshin was recruited by Ernest Fenollosa to assist in his efforts to introduce Chinese and Japanese arts to the Western world via the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and soon lost interest in guiding this organization. → The organization went on hiatus.
Death of Okakura Tenshin in 1913 → The Nihon Bijutsu-in was revived a year later in 1914 under Yokoyama Taikan and held the 1st Saikō Inten exhibition in 1914. → The organization became a major force.
Bunten → Teiten
The Bunten was reorganized to the Teiten (Imperial Fine Arts Academy Exhibition) because system of the Bunten was criticized.
Shōwa Period (1926-1989)
The Early Part: the 1920s to the 1930s → Study of Japanese Classical Paintings
Many painters progressed study of Japanese classical paintings, and made an effort to apply those techniques to their own works.
The Middle Part: During the War (1935-1945)
1935: Reorganization of the Teiten by Matsuda Genji (Matsuda Kaiso) → Start of the Shin Bunten (New Bunten Exhibition) in 1938
Many painters created battle-pieces for the Japanese government. The government suppressed its opponents.
The Latter Part: After the War
Around 1950: Dispute about Nihonga’s Collapse
1946: Reorganization of the Shin Bunten → Start of the Nitten (Japan Fine Arts Exhibition)
Painting styles before/after the war were not changed in the Japanese art world because main Japanese-style painters aged.
→ The Japanese paintings were criticized. → The dispute about Nihonga’s Collapse occured.
From around 1950 to around 1990: New Generation of Japanese-style Painting
New stars arose in the Japanese art world.
- Nitten: Higashiyama Kaii, Sugiyama Yasushi, Takayama Tatsuo
- Nihon Bijutsu-in: Hirayama Ikuo
- Sōgakai: Kayama Matazō
The Collapse of the Bubble Economy in around 1990 → Globalization
Some Japanese-style painters, who take an active role in the world, showed from the 1990s.
- Senju Hiroshi: Representative work, “Waterfall”
- Murakami Takashi: Fusion of the Japanese-style paintings and Japanese pop culture