Japanese art paintings

Paintings of Japanese art

Kai Kajikazawa
“Koshu Kajikazawa”

History by the early modern period

In the history of Japanes painting, it was around the time of the Heian period when its own features came out. Until then, most of the paintings showed the people at the time or the dogma of Buddhism. 


Asuka and Nara Period



After that the paintings in Japan started on a a full scale, the birth of “Yamato-e(大和絵)”. Yamato means Japan in ancient time.  One of the technique of “Yamato-e” is drawn by stacking to top up distant things in the same size. So it has been said that the Japanese hanging scrolls are vertical.


Heian and Kamakura Period


But in late 10th century, a horizontal world also appeared in Japanese painting.  “picture scroll/Emaki-mono(絵巻物)”, which composes Yamato-e and document, unfolds from the right to the left on a long screen.


Genji Monogatari
“Genji Monogatari Emaki”(click to read the description)


Choju-giga 鳥獣戯画
“Choju Jinbutsu giga”(click to read the description)


Muromachi and Azuchi-Momoyama Period

Due to the rise of Zen, introduced from China,” ink painting/suiboku-ga(水墨画)” became popular in Muromachi Period. Ink painting often has been thought of as painters depicted a scene actually they seen. But Japanese artist hadn’t practiced sketching as basic of painting until modern time.


ink painting of Sesshu, Landscapes of Autumn and Winter
Landscapes of Autumn and Winter[PD-Art]

Sesshu(雪舟) is the most famous artist who painted ink painting. Sesshu, a monk of Zen sect, belonged to the orthodox school of suiboku-ga.


His work is realistic, but it is not a reproduction of a real,  but his insight into the depths of nature.






In Azuchi-Momoyama period, popular painters, including Kano Eitoku(狩野永徳) and Hasegawa Tohaku(長谷川等伯), drew “sliding door paintings/Husuma-e(襖絵)” and “folding screen picture/Byoubu-e(屏風絵)” for daimyos.


"Karajishi-zu" (唐獅子図)
“Karajishi-zu”(click to read the description)


The castle tower is a symbol of the castle, representing the character of the owner. Kano Eitoku was entrusted with  paintings to use for the castle tower by Nobunaga Oda and Toyotomi Hideyoshi. They were the most powerful in Japan at that time. 


Kano school also had succeeded in early Edo-Perido. And Rinpa school had showed up as their rivals. Tawaraya Soutatsu was founder of Rimpa school. After his death, Ogata Korin widen his apeal from paintings to art crafts.


Edo Period

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