The Momoyama Period
THE strong Chinese influence so characteristic of Muromachi landscape painting did not continue in the subsequent Momoyama period ( 1574-- 1614), which developed a Japanese style with the emphasis on the decorative quality of the painting. It is indicative that the great artists were no longer Zen monks creating in the quiet of some temple compound, but professional artists who worked for the great military leaders of the day, men such as Nobunaga and Hideyoshi. In fact, the period begins with the erection of Nobunaga's magnificent seven-story castle at Azuchi on the southern shore of Lake Biwa, and it is named after the Momoyama, or "Peach Hill," near Kyoto, where Hideyoshi had his castle built in 1594. Both were decorated with a wealth of splendid paintings, some of which were in monochrome, but most of which were painted in brilliant colors against rich gold-leaf backgrounds. This kind of painting, which was known as shōhekiga in contrast to the kakemono and makimono so prevalent (luring the Ashikaga period, was used to cover standing screens, or byōbu; fusuma, the sliding partitions between rooms; shōji, the sliding outer partitions; and the inside walls of the building.
The most celebrated of the great Momoyama painters was Kano Eitoku ( 1543-1590), the grandson of Kano Motonobu, and it was he who was commissioned to do the decorations in most of the castles. Although trained by