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Unformatted text preview: and lacquerware, painting, and—perhaps most
notable of all—calligraphy. Indeed, some of the most treasured works of
art to come down from this period are “poem scrolls” done jointly by
Kòetsu and Sòtatsu, scrolls in which Kòetsu inscribed waka (often taken
from such admired anthologies of the ancient period as the tenth-century
Kokinshû and the early thirteenth century Shinkokinshû) over the painting
of flowers, grass, and animals by Sòtatsu (fig. 49).
Both Kòetsu and Sòtatsu were representatives of the upper merchant
class of those cities—especially Kyoto, Nara, and Sakai in the central
provinces—that had flourished commercially during the late medieval
and Momoyama periods. A number of noted artists and men of culture,
from the Higashiyama tea master Shukò to Sen no Rikyû of Hideyoshi’s
day, emerged from the successful merchant houses of these cities to gain
acceptance in the highest social circles of Japan’s courtier and warrior
elites. The Tokugawa period, of course, witnessed a continuation and
expansion of commerce (at least domestically) and the rise of new and
even greater urban centers at Osaka and Edo, cities which in the seventeenth century produced a bourgeois culture that catered especially to
the great bulk of their middle- and lower-class townsmen. Hence, the
art of Kòetsu and Sòtatsu was part of the “higher” or more traditional
line of cultural development from pre-Tokugawa times, and the men The Flourishing of a Bourgeois Culture 175 themselves were members of a former class of privileged merchants
whose influence and status were entering into decline.
Although Sòtatsu employed various styles on many different formats,
including horizontal scrolls and folding fans (his family were apparently
fan makers), he is noted chiefly for his work in the monumental decorative tradition of Kanò Eitoku and his contemporaries of the Momoyama
epoch. Sòtatsu, however, was far more of a “Yamato artist” than his
Momoyama predecessors, insofar as he selected the themes for many of
his greatest paintings from the Japanese, rather than directly from the
Chinese, cultural past. Tw...
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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