The Role of Funpon in the Painting Production of the Edo Kano School

Topics: Tokugawa shogunate, Painting, Edo period Pages: 24 (9301 words) Published: December 7, 2009

1, Introduction 3

2, The origin of the term 5

3, Funpon for learning 7 3,1 The learning curriculum in the Kobikichō Kano workshop 7 3,2 Shitsu-ga and Gaku-ga 8

4, Funpon for painting production 13 4,1 The succession of motifs and styles 14 4,2 The succession of motifs and styles on the commission of large scale 16 4,2,1 The nature of funpon produced at the reconstruction of Edo castle 16 4,2,2 The visual customary at the shōgunal edifice 18 4,2,3 The images as symbol 21

5, The accumulation of funpon 23 5,1 Osanobu’s effort 24 5,2 Kobikichō’s collection policy 26

6, Conclusion 28

1, Introduction

 It is impossible to find more vigorous painting school in the history of Japanese art other than the Kano school which has dominated the art scene for four hundred years from the middle of the Muromachi period to the end of the Edo period. Kano painters have extended their predominance, serving the most influential rulers of the times as official painter, Goyō eshi. Motonobu, Eitoku, Sanraku and Tanyū have been main figures who produced works that represent the Kano school. Although the school has kept their long lasting prestigious position, the Kano painters have changed their style in accordance with the preference of their patrons. The Kano school saw the culmination of the institutional flourisher in the Edo period. In the second half of seventeenth century, the several branch family lines were extended from the main house. The vast network of Kano-trained painters encompassed not only shōgunal painters but also those employed by regional clans, as well as low-ranking town painters, who worked as an independent painter. By the mid eighteenth century, new position oku-eshi was assigned for some of the head of the main houses. Oku is a notion that implies the possession of the right to have an audience with shōgun. Even oku-eshi painters were permitted to carry sword. This fact would mean that the heads of Kano painters became samurai. However, while the painters of the Kano school in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries are often said to have reached its zenith of influence and productivity, their stance toward its art, especially of the works made by painters after Tanyū, has been evaluated in negative tone at one time, in spite of their organizational success at that time. In the Kano school in the Edo period, only a few painters has been taken up with significance, namely Tanyū, the founder of so-called Edo Kano, Naonobu, Tanyū’s younger brother, and Tsunenobu, the son of Naonobu, then suddenly jump to Kano Hōgai. The established view for the Kano school from the mid to late Edo period, propagated by scholars would be well exemplified in Kobayashi Tadashi’s insistence. “The Kano and Tosa schools established its absolute position as goyōeshi the official painters of Bakufu after the end of seventeenth century, since the status of school was warranted by the hereditary system. At the same time, the unenterprising conservatism of the ruling class infiltrated into the art of the official schools. Copying the paintings of masters in the past by using ‘funpon’ pictorial model was the most harmful malady of the conservatism in creating art.” And he positioned Kano school as the group of painters which lost creative motivation and fell into vacant formalism. Similar view was claimed by Matsuki Hiroshi. He strongly accused of...

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