The Landscape Painting of China and Japan

By Hugo Munsterberg | Go to book overview

14
The Edo Period

THE brief Momoyama period came to an end in 1616 when Ieyasu Tokugawa, the third of the great military rulers of the age, consolidated his power and established the Tokugawa shogunate, which was to last for two hundred and fifty years. Since the Tokugawa shoguns moved their seat of government to Tokyo, at that time called Edo, this period is usually referred to as the Edo period, although it may also be called the Tokugawa period. It was an era of national isolation during which the Tokugawa shoguns not only cut Japan off from almost every foreign contact, but also refused to permit their subjects ever to leave the country. These strict regulations, however, had surprisingly little effect upon art, for it shows the influence of both Chinese and European styles.

The official art school of the period, the one which enjoyed the patronage of the shoguns, was the Kano School. It was still run by the descendents of Kano Masanobu and Kano Motonobu, the original founders, and members of the family continued the school into modern times. It is characteristic of the Japanese that schools should be connected with families rather than particular places or styles, and this was considered so important that if a family had no son, a favorite pupil would be adopted in order to continue the name. Students would gather around a famous master, who would then found his own school, but this does not necessarily mean that all the artists

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