Japanese Arts Part 5

Besides Suzuki Harunobu, who is known for his subtle depictions of women, the enigmatic Tōshūsai Sharaku, famous for his haunting portraits of actors, the Torii Kiyonaga, who is important for his exciting compositions of interior and exterior views, and Kitagawa Utamaro, whose portraits of women expressing his psychic portraits, were important masters of the early color woodcut delighted audiences in Japan and later in the West. The masters of the late color woodcut, Katsushika Hokusai and Andō Hiroshige, whose landscape paintings were best known in the West, were enjoyed by the French Impressionists strongly influenced.

In handicrafts, the development from the Chinese-Korean influenced ceramics of the Momoyama period to a Japanese style is characteristic. The tea ceremony and its need for irregular, noticeably rough earthen chaki (tea utensil), which the masters Ninsei, Ogata Kenzan and the raku workshop covered with Kōetsu Kōetsu Hon’ami in Kyōto (Kyō-yaki), while in Hizen, continued to provide artistic inspiration (in Kyushu) Sakaida Kakiemon (* 1596, † 1666) porcelain production enriched and refined with graceful and economical enamel painting. The best quality and most decorative goods, which, in contrast to Imari porcelain (Arita porcelain), were not intended for export, were supplied by the ovens from Ōkōchi, which made the porcelain for the princes Nabeshima, and from Mikochi (Hirado porcelain). Other well-known workshops were those of Kutani, Hagi and Satsuma. Due to the luxury requirements of the time, lacquer art and swordsmithing were also highly developed, but lost quality towards the end of the period. Netsuke carving emerged as a new art.

Meiji Period and the Early Modern Age

(1868–1912 and 1912–45)

The literati painting was initially maintained because of the Confucian education of the ruling elite, with two different tendencies exist side by side: the more conservative, the traditional from the Edo period principles arrested direction (va represented by.. Hoashi Kyou, * 1810, † 1884; Komuro Suiun, * 1874, † 1945) and the group representing an eccentric style (mainly represented by Murase Taiitsu, * 1804, † 1881; Yamanaka Shinten’ō, * 1822, † 1885). The last idiosyncratic representative of literary painting was Tomioka Tessai.

But the Meiji period was v. a. the period of rapid westernization in all areas of life. To introduce Western art, the Technical Art School was established in Tokyo in 1876, where Italian artists taught painting, sculpture, and architecture. According to cheeroutdoor, one of the first Japanese artists to deal with oil painting was the self-taught Takahashi Yūichi (* 1828, † 1894). Encouraged by the American philosophy professor at the University of Tokyo, E. Fenollosa, and his student, the painter Okakura Kakuzō (* 1863, † 1913), a reaction against foreign influences and a return to old traditions began in the 1880s.

In Tokyo, in 1888, the state art college led by Okakura Kakuzō took over the promotion of Japanese painting (Nihonga), which was reinvented as a counter-movement to European painting (Yōga). One of the first teachers of Nihonga was Kanō Hōgai (* 1828, † 1888), one of the last masters of the Kanō school; important artists of the early Nihonga were Yokoyama Taikan, Kawai Gyokudō (* 1873, † 1957) and Shimomura Kanzan (* 1873, † 1930).

At around the same time, an art school led by Kōno Bairei (* 1844, † 1895) was formed in Kyōto, in which the Maruyama and Shijō schools continued their closeness to nature. Takeuchi Seihō (* 1864, † 1942), who was the first Japanese artist to study abroad, was one of the most prominent representatives of this school. Ukiyo-e and Yamato-e experienced a modern variant, especially in the pictures of women by the painter Uemura Shōen (* 1875, † 1949) and in the works of Kiyokata Kaburagi (* 1878, † 1972). It was only after 1890 that European painting (Yōga) was able to assert itself alongside Japanese painting (Nihonga).

In 1889 the first association of oil painters was established. The “Hakubakai” (“white horse”) association of 1896, headed by Kuroda Seiki (* 1866, † 1924), who was the first to teach European painting at the Tokyo Art Academy, was of great importance. In addition to Kuroda Seiki, Asai Chū (* 1856, † 1907) was important, who headed the art academy in Kyoto. Creative Yōga painters of the Taishō period were Kishida Ryūsei (* 1891, † 1929) and Yorozu Tetsugōrō (* 1885, † 1927).

The sculpture on the other hand focused entirely on the European model (A. Rodin) to a school that continued the traditional wooden sculpture. Depending on the style (Art Nouveau, Symbolism, Cubism, Dadaism, Fauvism, Neorealism or Surrealism), further associations and splits emerged. Among the most notable were the group »Akushon« (»Aktion«; founded in 1922, among others by Kanbara Tai [* 1898, † 1997 ] and Koga Harue [* 1895, † 1933]), whose members represented different directions of the European avant-garde, as well as the group »MAVO« (founded in 1923, inter alia by Murayama Tomoyoshi [* 1893, † 1990]), the Dadaism and constructivism, as they were common in Berlin at that time, in Popularized Japan.

To save traditional handicrafts, which threatened to perish as a result of rapid industrialization, the art theorist Yanagi Soētsu (* 1889, † 1961) initiated the Mingei movement (“folk art movement” ) in 1925. the ceramicists Tomimoto Kenkichi (* 1886, † 1963), Kawai Kanjirō (* 1890, † 1966), Hamada Shōji (* 1894, † 1978), the textile dyer Serizawa Keisuke (* 1895, † 1984) and the woodcut artist Munekata Shikō (* 1903, † 1975).

Japanese Arts 5