Rinpa 琳派

Rinpa, a unique Japanese decorative style originated in the first half of the seventeenth century by the artists Hon’ami Koetsu (1558-1637) and Tawaraya Sotatsu (died ca. 1643). During the Edo period (1615-1868), the style was continued by artists such as Ogata Korin (1658-1716), Watanabe Shiko (1683-1775), Sakai Hoitsu (1761-1828), Nakamura Hochu (late 18th – early 19th century), and Suzuki Kiitsu (1796-1858).

Best known for using bold areas of flat color and stylized shapes, Rinpa painters also produced spare, fluid, and suggestive ink painting. They are particularly recognized for their application of the tarashikomi technique, in which pigment is added to wet ink to create subtle, variable masses of color that enliven the painted surface. Rinpa artists relied on traditional literary themes but also created original compositions of birds, flowers, and animals.

The Rinpa school traces its origins—both stylistic and thematic—to the Yamato-e style (literally: Japanese painting) of the Heian period (794-1185). After flourishing in the Edo period, the Rinpa school continued to inspire creative output in modern times with the works of artists such as Kamisaka Sekka (1866-1942).


An example in the Rinpa style (left):

Sakai HOITSU (1761–1828)
Triptych of Flowers and Rising Sun
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