nanto-edokoro 南都絵所
KEY WORD : art history / paintings
Lit. painting atelier of the southern capital (nanto 南都, an alternative name for Nara 奈良). Refers to the three painting studios za 座 which were active in Nara by the end of the Kamakura period. For the purpose of restoring Toudaiji 東大寺 and Koufukuji 興福寺 which had been destroyed by fires set by Taira no Shigehira 平重衡 (1156-85) in 1180, Mikawa Hokkyou Yuuson 三河法橋有尊(act 1190-1220), claiming to follow the painting lineage of Kose no Kanaoka 巨勢金岡 (act. late 9c-early 10c), founded *Handaza 吐田座, the first of the studios or guilds of the nanto-edokoro. Yuuson worked simultaneously for both the painting bureaus of the two great inge 院家 (noble families who entered the priesthood at the same time as an ex-emperor) at Koufukuji, the Ichijouin 一乗院 and Daijouin 大乗院. Later his eldest son Gyouson 尭尊 succeeded to the Ichijouin Handaza 一乗院吐田座, and his second son Gyouyuu 尭有 to the Daijouin Handaza 大乗院吐田座. Shortly after Yuuson, another painter, Daihobou Hougen Sonchi 大輔房法眼尊智, left Kyoto for Nara and founded the *Shounamiza 松南院座. Around 1234/5, another painting guild, the *Shibaza 芝座, became attached to Ichijouin of Koufukuji. The Buddhist painters *ebusshi 絵仏師 working for this za all used the character kan 観 in their signatures. The most striking extant production by the Shibaza is the Kasuga suijaku mandara 春日垂迹曼荼羅. In the Kamakura period, the Toudaiji-edokoroza 東大寺絵所座 produced such artists as Seijun 勢順 and Raishin 頼真. In 1377, Kansei 観盛, an artist of the Shibaza, was invited into the Toudaiji-edokoroza and between the years of 1532-55 numerous artists, such as Toukatsumaru 藤勝丸 from the Shibaza and Rinken 琳賢 and Suke-no-hokkyou 助法橋 from the Handaza, were added to make this studio prosperous. At the end of the Muromachi period, artists from studios called ichiiya 檪屋, which developed outside the restrictive life of the temple, painted religious works and sold them. Consequently, from the end of the Muromachi to the Edo periods, the size and influence of the nanto-edokoro decreased and its status fell to the level of the *machi-eshi 町絵師. Finally in the Edo period *eya 絵屋, where paintings were sold directly from private studios, were formed in an area then called Eyachou 絵屋町 (current-day Genrin-inchou 元林院町). Characteristics of paintings produced by the nanto-edokoro are pure colors and rich decorative effects. Of their Buddhist paintings, many depict the grounds of Kasuga Taisha 春日大社 or temple grounds, as well as mandalas of deities in their Buddhist and Shinto forms suijaku 垂迹 --all with distinctly *yamato-e やまと絵-- influenced landscapes.


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