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Nagasaki, Christianity and Western ways were in general so thoroughly
rooted out that few traces of namban culture were to be found in Japan
after about the mid-seventeenth century. There remained some things,
like firearms, tobacco, and eyeglasses, and a few Portuguese words, such
as pan (bread), karuta (playing card), and kappa (a straw cape used as a
raincoat), to attest to the fact that the Jesuits and their patrons had really
been in Japan for nearly a hundred years. Otherwise, their presence and
cultural influence were to a remarkable extent expunged from the memory of the Japanese until modern times.
Along with architecture, painting was the art that most fully captured
the vigorous and expansive spirit of the Momoyama epoch of domestic
culture during the age of unification. It was a time when many styles of
painting and groups of painters flourished. Of the latter, by far the best
known and most successful were the Kanò, a school that was maintained
by lineal and adopted descendants from medieval until modern times.
The origins of the Kanò school can be traced from Masanobu (1434–
1530), a member of a samurai house who purportedly studied under
Shûbun. Masanobu accepted the post, first declined by Sesshû, of official The Country Unified 153 artist to the Ashikaga shogunate in the kanga or Chinese manner of Sung
and Yüan monochrome painting. He thus established the Kanò as a line
of professional painters who worked on commission to meet the demands
of their warrior patrons.
Although Masanobu founded the Kanò school, it was his son and successor, Motonobu (1476–1559), who was most responsible for defining
its character and course of development. Motonobu was by all accounts
a true eclectic. He continued the Kanò tradition of kanga monochrome
painting, which still dominated the attention of nearly all Japanese artists
until well into the sixteenth century; but Motonobu also made free use
of the colorful Yamato style of native art that had evolved during the
Heian period and had reached its pinnacle in the great narrative picture
scrolls of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.
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This note was uploaded on 02/08/2013 for the course ANTH 142 taught by Professor Hans during the Spring '13 term at The University of British Columbia.
- Spring '13