Thursday, October 22, 2009

Momoyama Period (1573-1615)

The decorative style that is the hallmark of Momoyama art had its inception in the early sixteenth century and lasted well into the seventeenth. The art of this period was characterized by a robust, opulent, and dynamic style, with gold lavishly applied to architecture, furnishings, paintings, and garments. 

Wine container, Momoyama period 
 Lacquered wood

However, the military elite supported rustic simplicity, most fully expressed in the form of the tea ceremony that favored weathered and imperfect settings and utensils.

Orbie Ware Ewer, Momoyama period
Stoneware with overglaze enamel 

The Kano School of Painting was the longest lived, and most influential school of painting in Japanese history, which was founded during the Momoyama period. The greatest innovation of the period was the formula, developed by Kano Eitoku, for the creation of monumental landscapes on the sliding doors enclosing a room. 

Chinese Lions, Kanyo Eitkou, At the Museum of Imperial Collections

Contemporary accounts indicate that Eitoku was one of the most highly sought-after artists of his time, and received many wealthy and powerful patrons. Eitoku was able to secure a steady stream of commissions and an efficient workshop of students and assistants. 

His signal contribution to the Kano repertoire was the so-called "monumental style" (taiga), characterized by bold, rapid brushwork, an emphasis on foreground, and motifs that are large relative to the pictorial space.

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