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Painting and Calligraphy | 16th–19th century

"Painting and Calligraphy | 16th–19th century "

Japanese Gallery (Honkan) Room 8  January 2, 2022 (Sun) - February 6, 2022 (Sun)

Japanese Syllabary (detail), By Nukina Sūō, Edo period, 19th century

A thriving economy, foreign trade, and better education invigorated painting and calligraphy. Previously, ruling classes like the samurai and court nobility were the main patrons of art. But in the Edo period (1603–1868), more people started to benefit from the economy. Successful merchants in particular gained the wealth to support artists and buy their works.

Many painters continued working in traditional styles, while others started looking to outside sources for inspiration. Paintings and painting manuals imported from China were one source. Another was the books and prints that traders brought from Europe, which showed techniques like realistic shading and perspective. As a result, painting in Japan became more diverse in style and subject matter.

Meanwhile, the ancient custom of writing with a brush and ink continued. The literacy rate increased dramatically as schools for different social classes were established, particularly in cities and towns. The publishing industry thrived and more people took up the art of calligraphy.

Major Work(s) on Exhibit 4 results
Designation Name Amount Creation Excavation Period Acquisition Ownership Comment
Highlight Pine Tree in the Snow By Maruyama Ōkyo (1733–95) Edo period, 1765 A-1148
Pine Tree, Plum Blossoms, and Crane By Itō Jakuchū (1716–1800) Edo period, 18th century Gift of Ms. Uematsu Kayoko, A-11851
The New Thirty-Six Immortal Poets By Kanō Tan'yū (1602–74) Edo period, 1664 A-61-1
Highlight Japanese Syllabary By Nukina Sūō (1778–1863) Edo period, 19th century B-3529