suibokuga 水墨画
KEY WORD : art history / paintings
Ch: shuimohua. Also, in Japan, bokuga 墨画 or more colloquially sumi-e 墨絵. Lit. water-ink painting. Painting in *sumi 墨 (black ink) in dark and light shades on silk or paper. In contrast to painting in colors saishikiga 彩色画 and *hakubyou 白描 (ink line painting), suibokuga uses gradations of ink to create a sense of light and shade, as well as modulated brushstrokes and lines to create a sense of volume and rhythm. Suibokuga shares many features with calligraphy: it is essentially a monochromatic medium. It is typically painted with similar brushes, and is appreciated for qualities admired in calligraphy, such as strength and resilience of line, economy of brushstrokes and ink, and expressiveness. The division of calligraphy into three styles, formal kai 楷, or shin 真 running gyou 行 and cursive sou 草, has also been applied to suibokuga (see *shin-gyou-sou 真行草). The origins of suibokuga, although obscure, can be traced to China, from where the techniques were transmitted to Korea and Japan. From its inception, Chinese painting has been strongly dependent on linear description, but already in the Han dynasty, Chinese artists were beginning to explore the volumetric and expressive potential of ink lines. It was not until the late 7c to early 8c, however, that monochrome ink painting began to extricate itself from its function as outline in polychrome painting. Wu Daozi (Jp: Go Doushi 呉道子; early 8c.) is recognized as one of the early masters of ink painting and is said to have imbued ink line with vitality and expressiveness. While Wu was renowned for his figure painting, a younger contemporary, Wang Wei (Jp: Ou I 王維 ; ca.699 - ca.759), has been immortalized for paintings of landscape. Wang is credited with making landscape painting in ink a viable vehicle for personal expression, thus setting the stage for landscape painting to be considered as the preeminent expression of Chinese art. Wang is also said to have employed the technique of broken ink *haboku 破墨 (Ch: pomo) to impart a sense of volume and texture to landscape forms. The accretion of legends surrounding Wang and Wu makes it difficult to verify the exact nature of their work, although paintings and painting on objects from the 8c. in the * Shousouin 正倉院 in Nara indicate the skill Chinese artists had achieved in rendering animated, plastic forms by means of ink alone. Wang Mo (Jp: Ou Boku 王墨 ; ? - ca.804), also from China, is customarily mentioned in connection with the origins of another suibokuga technique, that of splashed ink *hatsuboku 溌墨, Ch: pomo), in which ink is spattered from a brush, hand, or implement. Both the splashed ink and broken ink techniques can be read pomo in Chinese, and considerable confusion has arisen about their mention in documents. In Japan, the two terms eventually came to refer to the same technique of laying on successive ink washes. The development of Chinese ink painting, which traveled to Korea and Japan, is a significant aspect of the international culture of the Tang dynasty. In the early Northern Song dynasty, Chinese painting reached new heights in the monumental monochrome landscapes of such painters as Jing Hao (Jp: Kei Koku 荊浩 ; fl. ca.870-930), Li Cheng (Jp: Ri Sei 李成 ; 919-967), Fan Kuan (Jp: Han Kan 范寛 ; ca.960-ca.1030), and Dong Yuan (Jp: Tou Gen 董源 ; fl. 937-976). Slightly later, during the 11th c., a group of literati artists, including Su Dongpo (Jp: *So Touba 蘇東坡 ; 1036-1101) and Mi Fu (Jp:Bei Futsu 米ふつ ; 1052-1107), transformed suibokuga into an idealized art, asserting that a painted image, like a written passage, was a perfect vehicle for learned men to express lofty thoughts. Also during the Northern Song dynasty, ink painting was practised by a number of Chinese monks of the Chan 禅 (Jp: Zen) sect of Buddhism. The great advances made by Song painters in suibokuga techniques began to exert pronounced influence on Korean and Japanese painters in the 12c and 13c. In Japan, ink painting experienced a phenomenal surge in popularity among priests of the newly prosperous Zen sect during the late Kamakura period. It became the favored mode of painters in the Muromachi period. In large part, the success of Zen inspired suibokuga was due to its austerity and immediacy, qualities admired by the military rulers of the Kamakura and Muromachi periods. Japanese suibokuga has been divided into four developmental stages. The first stage extended from the mid 13th c. to the late 14c. The style of ink painting by Chan monks of the late Song and early Yuan periods, especially Muqi (Jp: Mokkei 牧谿 ; early 13c) was transmitted to Japan. The artists who adopted this approach were largely Zen monks who produced paintings as a religious practice. These included Mokuan Reien 黙庵霊淵 (fl. early 14c) and Kao Ninga 可翁仁賀 (fl. early 14c). Artists of this leaning often worked in *genpitsu 減筆 (abbreviated brush drawing) mode, creating sketches whose immediacy of execution mirrors the belief of the Chan sect in spontaneous spiritual enlightenment. Taoist figure painting *doushakuga 道釈画 was an important subject in this group of painters. But this style coexisted with another style of artist like Takuma Eiga 宅磨栄賀 (fl.1312-16) and Ryouzen 良全(fl.1348-55), who tended to create diligently crafted iconic images. See *ebusshi 絵仏師. In the second stage, from the late 14c to the mid 15c, subokuga artists began specializing in certain themes, among which landscapes became increasingly common. Schools of painting emerged at major temples in Kyoto: Josestu 如拙 (also Nyosetsu; fl. ca. 1394-1428) headed an atelier at Shoukokuji 相国寺 and Kichizan Minchou 吉山明兆(1352-1431) was master painter at Toufukuji 東福寺. Chinese ideals exerted a major influence in other fields of art, as can be seen from Chinese verses inscribed on *shigajiku 詩画軸 (hanging scrolls with painted scenes and inscribed poems). While the artists who painted the utopian landscapes and shosai 書斎 (a study) on shigajiku were usually professional monk-painters of relatively low rank, the poems were typically inscribed by high ranking priests of the gozan 五山 system, a hierarchical organization of Zen temples adopted from Southern Song and supported by the Ashikaga 足利 shoguns. Early ink painting originated in gozan temples. Probably the most famous of the artists is Shuubun 周文(fl. ca. 1425-50), Josetsu's disciple and successor as head of the shogun-sponsored painting academy at Shoukokuji. Shuubun is credited with assimilating the style of the S. Song academic painters Ma Yuan (Jp: Ba En 馬遠 ; fl. ca.1190-1264) and Xia Gui (Jp: Ka Kei 夏圭 ; fl. ca early 13c) into the Japanese style of suibokuga. The third stage in the development of suibokuga occurred in the second half of the 15c. During this phase, Shuubun's student Sesshuu Touyou 雪舟等楊 (1420-1506), is considered to have fully integrated Chinese models into suibokuga. Sesshuu created a powerful, personal idiom that greatly influenced later artists. One of the suibokuga techniques employed by Sesshuu is hatsuboku, as seen in his hanging scroll of Haboku sansui 破墨山水 in the Tokyo National Museum. A number of painting schools emerged during the third stage in the development of suibokuga. These schools tended to be affiliated to Zen temples, but did not necessarily have only monk painters as members. As well as that under Sesshuu schools formed around Nouami 能阿弥(1397-1471), Soga Jasoku 曾我蛇足 (fl mid to late 15c), and Oguri Soutan 小栗宗湛 (1413-81), Shuubun's successor as official painter to the Ashikaga shogun. Each of these schools created a distinctive manner of painting in ink. Official sponsorship was next bestowed upon the Kanou school *Kanouha 狩野派 in the early 16c, during the fourth phase of suibokuga development. This final period saw ink painting emerge as a more secular and decorative style, epitomized by the art of Kanou Motonobu 狩野元信(1476-1559), who is lauded for his masterful synthesis of *yamato-e やまと絵 (native Japanese style painting) and *kanga 漢画 (Chinese style painting). Until this point, ink painting had commonly been small in scale, painted on vertical hanging scrolls or horizontal handscrolls. During the final phase of its development, large-scale suibokuga flourished, as it became popular for ornamenting sliding doors, panels and screens of temples, castles and wealthy merchants' dwellings. These large scale paintings were created in ink alone, in rich polychrome, or in a mixture of the two. The monumental, decorative trend culminated in the Momoyama period with painters such as Kanou Eitoku 狩野永徳 (1543-1590) who painted dramatic images in ink with broad, rough brush work; Hasegawa Touhaku 長谷川等伯 (1539-1610) who conveyed the beauty and purity of nature with lyrical intensity in his ink paintings; and Kaihou Yuushou 海北友松 (1533-1615) who united ink with gold backgrounds. One of the other major artists active during the Momoyama period was Tawaraya Soutatsu 俵屋宗達 (?-ca 1640), who created rich, subtle ink effects with techniques that included *tarashikomi 溜込 . The new manner forged by Soutatsu came to be known as *Rinpa 琳派. In the early Edo period, Kanou Tan'yuu 狩野探幽 (1602-1674) carried on the Kanou school lineage as head of the officially sponsored school of painters. Tan'yuu's elegant style of ink painting had a great impact on artists of the 17c. Later in Edo period, Maruyama Oukyo 円山応挙 (1733-95) and his disciple Nagasawa Rosetsu 長沢蘆雪 (1754-99) achieved realistic effects of volume and three-dimensionality with techniques of ink painting which included *tsuketate 付立. Ike no Taiga 池大雅 (1723-76), Yosa Buson 与謝蕪村 (1716-84), and Uragami Gyokudou 浦上玉堂 (1745-1820), among others, used ink as one medium in their repertoire as adherents of *bunjinga 文人画 or *nanga 南画 (literati painting). These artists studied the flexible, soft ink style of the Southern School of Chinese artists. Itou Jakuchuu 伊藤若沖 (1716-1800) and Soga Shouhaku 曽我蕭白 (1730-81) often painted in ink in an individualistic, expressive manner. Edo ink painting developments continued to exert influence on modern painters, such as those who worked in the style of *nihonga 日本画 (Japanese painting), incorporating traditional features of suibokuga to fashion a novel manner of painting. Abstract painters of the 20c have also relied on techniques of suibokuga.

Haboku sansui−zu 破墨山水図 at Tokyo National Museum

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