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Shiokawa Bunrin (1801-1877)
River view with sakura, cherry blossom
Signed: Bunrin
Seals: Bunrin Shion
Technique: colours on paper 37.5 x 54.8
Mounting: dark blue decorated silk fabric and yellow (light green) damask
cloisonné rollers, 127 x 65.2
Condition: very good

Bunrin explored the boundaries of the Maruyama-Shijô style and searched for new interpretations in the Nanga style. He also experimented with new painting methods. Through Kôno Bairei (1844-95), his major pupil, his influence reached well into the twentieth century. Bunrin became the createor of Nihonga.

Bunrin’s father was in the service of the Takatsukase family. When in 1820 both his parents died he was sent to Kyoto to study painting. Soon thereafter the head of the Takatsukase family recognized his talent and arranged a place in Toyohiko’s studio (together with a lifetime allowance of rice). He received his training in the Maruyama-Shijô style, but at least as important was his access to Toyohiko’s ‘mythical’ box of copies.

Bunrin’s connection with the Takatsukase family, which was connected with the imperial court, might have had consequences if he had not moved to a rural village in Shiga from where he travelled and visited temples to study their collections of Ming paintings. Meanwhile he remained in contact with some of the imprisoned key figures of the loyalist groups.

Berry & Morioka ‘99 pp. 58-62
Berry & Morioka ‘08 # 66
Conant p. 321
Hillier pp. 335-338
Roberts p. 11
Araki pp. 689-90
Kyoto '98 p. 280