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Fukae Roshû, 1699-1757
Autumn Flowers with Deer
Color on paper

While the samurai class, de facto rulers of Japan from 1185 to 1868, lavished its patronage on ink monochrome painters, two Kyoto artists, Hon'ami Kôetsu (1558-1637) and Tawaraya Sôtatsu (active 1602-1630), working in the early seventeenth century, revived the indigenous yamato-e tradition that had languished for four hundred years in the comparative isolation of the imperial court. Kôetsu and Sôtatsu were eventually recognized as founders of a new tradition of painting referred to as the Rinpa school. This term is derived from the last syllable ("rin") of the name of Ogata Kôrin (1658-1716), a remarkable talent working in the early eighteenth century who was largely responsible for refining Kôetsu and Sôtatsu's idioms into what would become the Rinpa style.

Fukae Roshû, the painter of this work, was a contemporary of Kôrin, and many elements of this painting demonstrate Roshû's indebtedness to the Rinpa tradition. Deer were a favorite subject of Sôtatsu, and Roshû's rendition may have been copied from one of the master's drawings. Seasonal flowers and grasses rendered in vivid colors and skillfully arranged in arching patterns are one of the hallmarks of the Rinpa style. Roshû even borrowed Kôrin's practice of deliberately placing his round seal in a prominent location.

Rinpa styles had a profound effect on painters of many schools. A comparison of this work and Kanô Tsunenobu's hatsuboku landscape in this gallery demonstrates just how far the influence of the Rinpa style extended. To paint the hide of the deer, Roshû used a technique referred to as tarashikomi; when the deliberately pooled wet ink dries, it leaves behind a distinctive pattern. Kanô Tsunenobu used this technique when he painted the distant mountains in his work.

Ackland Art Museum, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Ackland Fund; 84.7.1

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Copyright (c) 2000, Mayumi Ishida, All Rights Reserved Last Updated: April 11, 2000