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Unkokuha@‰_’J”h
KEY WORD :@art history / paintings
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School of painters, founded by the 16c artist Unkoku Tougan ‰_’J“™Šç (1547-1618), who considered themselves to be in the lineage of Sesshuu Touyou áM“™—k (1420-1506). Tougan was a native of western Japan and a retainer for the Mouri –Ñ—˜ family, who lived in what is now Yamaguchi prefecture. Tougan first studied Kanou *Kanouha Žë–ì”h painting methods in Kyoto. Toward the end of the 16c, however, Tougan's patron Mouri Terumoto –Ñ—˜‹PŒ³ installed him at the Unkokuan ‰_’JˆÁ, Sesshuu's former studio in Suou Žü–h province (now Yamaguchi prefecture). Tougan was able to study the great landscape scroll Sansui choukan ŽR…’·Šª by Sesshuu in the Mouri collection, carefully copying it and adding an inscription to the original in 1593. Adopting brush work and themes of the master, Tougan called himself "the grandson of Sesshuu," and appropriated the name of Sesshuu's studio for his artistic name. Tougan worked primarily in Kyoto, although he maintained ties with several monastic institutions in the Kyoto area which were supported by his patrons in western Japan. He painted principally, in monochrome ink, often on screens. Representative of his work is "The Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove" *Chikurin shichiken ’|—ÑŽµŒ« and other paintings at the Oubaiin ‰©”~‰@ in Daitokuji ‘å“¿Ž› built in 1588. These, representative paintings from the Oubaiin, along with other works such as that in the Museum Fine Art Boston affirm his indebtedness to Sesshuu while showing a personal approach to landscape. Tougan's elder son, Touoku “™‰® (d.1615?) remained in Yamaguchi, but died early. His work is relatively unknown, as is that of several later followers. However, another son Toueki “™‰v (?-1644), who called himself the fourth-generation Sesshuu, collaborated with his father on a number of projects both around Kyoto and in Yamaguchi. On his father's death, he succeeded to Tougan's position as official painter to the Mouri family. Like his father, Toueki received the title hokkyou –@‹´. Toueki and his sons continued the Unkoku school in the 17c and early 18c bringing to traditional painting themes a combination of Kanou school colorist techniques with ink-painting techniques which characterize their school. The school inevitably lost creative momentum by relying on stylistic and uncompositional stereotypes but nevertheless lasted into the 19c. Paintings of the school are primarily ink landscapes suiboku sansuiga …–nŽR…‰æ but a number of ink and color bird-and-flower paintings also exist.
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