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Unformatted text preview: he Ogata family fortunes declined. Nevertheless, Kòrin was amply provided for during his youth and, by all
accounts, became a true Genroku profligate, frequenting the pleasure
quarters and pursuing a life of idleness and debauchery.
Not until he ran out of funds sometime about 1693 and was forced to
secure a loan from his younger brother Kenzan (1663–1743), who became a distinguished potter and painter in his own right, did Kòrin think
seriously about the need to find permanent employment. He began by
teaming up with Kenzan—in much the same way that Sòtatsu had
teamed up with Kòetsu—and decorating a number of the fine ceramic
pieces his brother produced. But although he did this and many other
varied kinds of artwork, Kòrin, like Sòtatsu, achieved his greatest fame
as a painter of folding screens.
Kòrin was the last of the great decorative artists of early modern
Japan and might be said to have brought the decorative style to its highest
level of perfection. He much admired the painting of Sòtatsu and even
copied a number of the earlier master’s work. But whereas Sòtatsu had
based works such as the Genji Screen on familiar and easily recognizable
themes, Kòrin’s best-known paintings are in a purely design-like and
decorative manner. This is clearly observable in his Iris Screen, one of
the most famous of all Japanese paintings. The screen was actually inspired by an episode from The Tales of Ise of the tenth century in which
Narihira, who is having a wayside lunch near where some irises are
growing, is challenged by a companion to compose a waka poem on “A
Traveler’s Sentiments” and to use the syllables in the word “iris” (kakitsubata) to begin each of its five lines. Kòrin made no attempt to reproduce
the narrative itself, but simply placed irises in “disembodied” fashion
against a stark gold-leaf background. With their blue blossoms and
green leaves providing a striking contrast to the dominant golden coloring of the screen, the flowers seem almost...
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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