Japanese Arts Part 3

Sculpture workshops (Bussho), which continued the tradition of Jōchō, existed since the 11th century. The Keischule at Kōfukuji in Nara is particularly productive: Unkei, Kōkei (around 1150), Kaikei (* 1174, † 1253), Jōkei (around 1200) and Tankei (* 1173, † 1256). Her works move away from the gentle, pleasing beauty of Fujiwarasculpture and are typical of the Kamakura style of religious sculpture with deep incisions, strong body modeling and naturalistic-looking, inlaid crystal eyes. Excellent masks for the religious dances of Bugaku and Gigaku were created in the Bussho.

Japanese art: Kaikei, Fudo Myoo

Naturalistic tendencies are also shown by courtly portrait painting (Nise-e), whose main works are attributed to Fujiwara no Takanobu (* 1142, † 1205), and the portraits of priests (Chinsō), which were particularly popular in the 14th century. The Yamato-e reached its climax with the Emaki, the heroic epics, biographies of important Buddhist patriarchs, the founding of temples and others. illustrated (Kitano-Tenjin-engi, 1219, Heiji-monogatari, 13th century, etc.). Also that of painting the song time influenced monochrome ink painting (Suibokuga) found, v. a. among the cultivated monks of the great Zen monasteries, followers (satirical emaki, iconographic sketches, portraits of priests, ideal landscapes). As a result of the syncretistic teaching of Honji-suijaku, Buddhist cult painting was enriched by the inclusion of Shinto themes (Miyamandara).

In arts and crafts, lacquer appliances, writing and toilet boxes in the decor show a connection to the Yamato-e; The first relief, cut lacquer work (Kamakurabori) and glazed celadon and Jianyao ceramics (Japanese Temmoku ceramics) based on the Chinese model (since 1230 in Seto) were created. The art of armaments and the manufacture of armor flourished during this warlike time. According to computerannals, the classic form of Japanese armor (Dō) was created by the master craftsmen of the Myōchin family, whose names have also been passed down as masters of sword stitch sheets (tsuba).

Muromachi period


In the Muromachean period, art was entirely under the influence of Zen Buddhism. In the profane architecture has been Shoinstil the Zen monasteries adopted, whereby the still valid basic shape of the Japanese house revealed. Also under the influence of Zen, the tea house (Chashitsu) and a more refined garden art (Daisen-in, Ginkaku-ji and Ryōan-ji in Kyoto) emerged. Buddhist elements increasingly penetrated the Shinto architecture. Buddhist cult sculpture and painting stagnated. New were the Nō masks, which, in contrast to the earlier masks (for temple dances), represent human character types.

The real art of the time, however, is the Zen-oriented and Chinese-inspired ink painting, promoted by the enthusiastic shoguns. Painting Zen priests studied and copied the great Chinese painters of the bygone South Song and Yuanz times. Minchō, Josetsu (* around 1386, † around 1428) and Shūbun, abbot in Shōkokuji in Kyoto, are the classics of Japanese ink painting (Suiboku-ga). From Shubun’s school, among others, went the three Ami, Nōami (* 1397, † 1471), Geiami (* 1431, † 1485) and Sōami, as well as the founder of the Kanō school Kanō Masanobu (* 1434, † 1530) and Sesshū Tōyō, who is considered the most important master of Japanese landscape painting. After initially small formats on hanging rolls, screens (Byōbu) and sliding doors (Fusuma) soon became picture carriers for ink painting. The composition and motifs of Chinese ink painting also had an effect on lacquer art. Relief varnish, worn-out Negoro varnish and inlaid gold and silver foil (Heidatsu) achieved excellent execution. Leading artist families were the Kōami and Igarashi, masters of sword ornamentation the Gotō.

Momoyama time


This epoch of the “three military dictators”, which was filled with luxury and ostentation, is characterized by decorative art that was created for representational purposes, detached from religious ties. The pompous palace and palace buildings have been destroyed except for a few remains, the castle of Oda Nobunaga (* 1534, † 1582) in Azuchi on Lake Biwa, the castle of Osaka and the Jūrakudaipalast in Kyoto have been preserved.

Parts of these buildings have found a new location (e.g. in Nishi Honganji in Kyoto). What has been preserved is, among other things. the castle of Himeji. Aristocratic and priestly residences were built in the Shoin style, with asymmetrically arranged buildings of often enormous proportions. Typical of the style are picture niches (Tokonoma), the offset wall shelves (Chigaidana), richly decorated sliding door entrances (Chōdaigamae), the attached writing studio (Tsukeshoin) and coffered ceilings. Rich wood carvings and metal fittings are also characteristic of these buildings.

The furnishings of the palaces fell to the masters of the Kanō School, first and foremost Kanō Eitoku (* 1543, † 1590) and Kanō Sanraku (* 1559, † 1635) who created magnificent paintings on adjustable screens (Byōbu) and sliding doors (Fusuma) in lively colors on a gold background. The arrival of the first Europeans and the life of the missionaries were also shown on screens (Nambo art). The masters of ink painting, Kaihō Yūshō (* 1533, † 1615) and Hasegawa Tōhaku, took up the Chinese painting of the Song and Yuanz times with large-scale, decorative works in temple buildings. Lacquer work was lavishly decorated with gold and silver. The gold scattering technique (Maki-e) is used for the Kōdaiji lacquers (around 1600). Metal art was highly developed (weapons, sword ornaments and metal fittings on buildings).

Japanese Arts 3