Tradition has it that when kan eitoku did large

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Unformatted text preview: tocracy. Even with the transition from the shinden to the shoin 154 The Country Unified style of architecture in the Muromachi period, painting was readily adjusted to meet the additional decorative needs of the shoin room through the production in greater numbers of vertical hanging scrolls (kakemono) for display in the new alcoves or tokonoma. But it was not until the Momoyama epoch that the claims of architecture most conspicuously influenced the course of painting in Japan. To decorate the larger wall spaces, sliding doors, and screens of the living quarters of the typical Momoyama castle, the Kanò and other contemporary painters were forced to create a new, monumental style of art. The practice of painting on folding screens (which in Japan was also adapted to the fusuma-type sliding doors) was originally derived from China, and a great number of Chinese-style screen paintings have been preserved from the eighth century in the Shòsòin at Nara. But with the development of Zen-inspired monochrome painting in the Sung period, Chinese artists abandoned the folding screen as a medium for their work. These artists, who were chiefly members of the literati class, saw that the monochrome style of landscape painting could more effectively be rendered on smaller formats, such as hang ing scrolls, and by and large they left the decorating of screens to house painters and other lower-class artisans. In medieval Japan, on the other hand, the folding screen remained an extremely popular format for art among both the courtier and warrior aristocracies, and even the most prominent landscape painters, including Shûbun, were obliged to do much of their work on the larger areas of screen panels. This presented considerable difficulty, since the typical subtlety and suggestiveness of landscapes in ink were apt to appear as signs of weakness or insipidity on, say, a six-panel screen that measured some five feet in height and perhaps twelve feet in width. Sesshû partly solved the problem of painting monochrome landscapes on large surfaces by employing an exceptional...
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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 UBC.

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