Japanese art and rinpa: Buddhism and high culture


Japanese art and rinpa: Buddhism and high culture

Lee jay walker

Tokyo modern times

One of the most distinctive art forms in Japan is the delightful cultural art of rinpa (rimpa). This artistic movement developed in Kyoto at the beginning of the Edo period of the 17th century. Thus, the two founding fathers – Hon’ami Kōetsu and Tawaraya Sōtatsu – set in motion a treasure that continues to enrich Japan.

Nichiren Buddhism was also instrumental in the founding of the rinpa. For the wealthy Buddhist merchants of Nichiren in Kyoto, they wanted to merge the ethics of their faith with the high cultural traditions that bless Nara and Kyoto. The result was the traditional aristocratic families and Buddhist merchants of Nichiren in search of an art form that blends ethics, high culture and classical traditions.

Ogata Kōrin (1658-1716) and Ogata Kenzan (1663-1743) took over from Kōetsu and Sōtatsu after the death of the two founders. These gifted brothers cemented the longevity of Rinpa art because other esteemed Rinpa artists followed in their footsteps.

The most notable rinpa artists are Sakai Hōitsu, Ogata Kenzan, Suzuki Kiitsu, Hon’ami Kōetsu, Ogata Kōrin, Kamisaka Sekka, and Tawaraya Sōtatsu. It is fair to say that Sekka (1866-1942) is the most experimentalist of all Rinpa artists.

Likewise, Hōitsu (1761-1829) revitalized the rinpa art movement. Indeed, Hōitsu reintroduced the magnificent art of Kōrin (1658-1716). Therefore, the lineage of rinpa art that began in the early Edo period continued to an astonishing level under Sekka in the 20th century.

The holy Buddhist priest Nichiren (1222-1282) said, “If you light one lantern for another, it wIYou will also light your own path.

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