Sumiyoshiha 住吉派
CATEGORY: art history / paintings
 
A school of painting that specialized in the *yamato-e やまと絵 style. Originally an offshoot of the court-sponsored Tosa school (*Tosaha 土佐派), the Sumiyoshi school worked primarily for the shogunate in Edo. In addition to their work as painters, members of the school were active as connoisseurs of early Japanese painting and calligraphy. The school was founded in 1662, when Emperor Gosai 後西 (1637-1685) ordered Tosa Hiromichi 土佐広通 (1561-1633), a Tosa school disciple, to adopt the name Sumiyoshi (probably in reference to a 13c painter Sumiyoshi Keinin 住吉慶忍) upon assuming a position as official painter for the Sumiyoshi Taisha 住吉大社. Hiromichi is better known today by his religious name, Jokei 如慶. Later in his career, Jokei worked as an official painter for the shogunate (*goyou-eshi 御用絵師). Jokei and his descendants adhered closely to the traditional yamato-e style, as it had been practiced by the early Tosa masters. This style, characterized by rather flat, decorative compositions, fine linework, great attention to detail, and brilliant color, was perfected through the careful study and copying of old masterpieces such as the 12c illustrated handscrolls of "Annual Affairs" (Nenjuugyouji emaki 年中行事絵巻; now preserved only in a detailed copy executed by Jokei in 1625). Other surviving works from Jokei's hand include the illustrated handscroll of The Tales of Ise (Ise monogatari emaki 伊勢物語絵巻 ;Tsugaru 津軽 collection) and that of "The History of Toushouguu" (Toushouguu engi 東照宮縁起; Nikkou Toushouguu 日光東照宮). The latter was painted by Jokei in 1665 with the help of his son, Sumiyoshi Gukei 住吉具慶 (1631-1705; secular name, Hirozumi 広澄). Gukei followed in his father's footsteps, working for the shogunate as an official painter. In 1682, Gukei secured the future of the school when he was appointed *oku-eshi 奥絵師, a title signifying his high rank among the official painters. Gukei produced many fine works in the yamato-e style, such as scrolls illustrating the classic The Tale of Genji (GENJI MONOGATARI 源氏物語, see *genji-e 源氏絵), but he was also known as a talented painter of genre scenes, such as the screens of the "Scenes In and Around Kyoto" (*Rakuchuu rakugai-zu 洛中洛外図; Tokyo Natinal Museum) and "The scrolls of the town and the country" (Tohi zukan 都鄙図巻; Konbuin 興福院, Nara). Gukei's successors are best known as influential connoisseurs of early Japanese painting and calligraphy; their certificates of authentication are attached to many surviving works. After Gukei, the line of succession passed to his son, Hiroyasu 広保 (1666-1750), to Gukei's grandson, Hiromori 広守 (1705-77), then to a disciple of Hiromori, Hiroyuki 広行 (1755-1811), and finally to his two sons, Hironao 広尚 (1781-1828) and Hirotsura 弘貫 (1793-1865), the last major Sumiyoshi school artist. In the late 18c., two disciples of Sumiyoshi Hiromori split from the main Sumiyoshi school to form independent branch schools. The Itaya 板谷 school was founded by Hiromasa 広当 (religious name, Keishuu 桂舟; 1729-97), and the Awataguchi 粟田口 school was founded by Naoyoshi 直芳 (religious name, Keiu 慶羽 ; 1723-91). Both of the branch schools continued to work as official painters for the shogunate.
 
 

 
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