hekiga 壁画
KEY WORD : art history / paintings
Lit. wall painting or mural.

1 A generic term applied to all the paintings related to architecture and thus includes *shouhekiga 障壁画 (paintings on screens and walls).

2 Paintings painted directly on fixed-position walls, in contrast with shouhekiga, which refers to paintings executed on paper and pasted on movable partitions as well as stationary interior structures. Therefore, hekiga usually indicates the paintings on plaster walls, such as those in the tomb of Takamatsuzuka (Takamatsutsuzuka kofun 高松塚古墳, late 7c-early 8c) and at Houryuuji *Kondou 法隆寺金堂 (late 7c-early 8c, mostly burnt in 1949), as well as paintings on wooden panel *ita-e 板絵 walls, such as the paintings at Daigoji *Gojuu-no-tou 醍醐寺五重塔 (951) in Kyoto. The term also includes paintings on the (usually wooden) walls of Shinto shrines, such as those at Ujigami Jinja Honden 宇治上神社本殿 (late 11c-early 12c) in Kyoto. Most hekiga followed the traditional process of undercoating *shitaji 下地, underpainting shitagaki 下描き, color *saishiki 彩色 and re-outlining *kakiokoshi 描起し. Stone or earthen walls were first covered with plaster, then a base coat of kaolin *hakudo 白土 was applied on which the color was added. For large-scale projects, the process was divided among various artisans (see *eshi 絵師). Chief or master painters brushed the composition forms in *sumi 墨 on paper. Other artisans mokuga-eshi 木画画師 applied a charcoal paste and sake 酒 (Japanese rice wine) to the back of the paper and then traced the image drawn on the front, thus making a charcoal outline on the wall nenshihou 念紙法 (the carbon paper method). Some early examples were drawn with a stylus directly onto the wall, such as those mentioned above at Houryuuji lost to fire. Another technique was to make a series of tiny pin holes in a sheet of paper and then brush them with powdered charcoal to leave a stippled outline in the wall. The colorists saishiki-eshi 彩色画師 then applied the color pigments. Finally, the painters sakai-eshi 堺画師 retraced the outlines and details again with black sumi or red, cinnabar *shu 朱.


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