Rinpa art and freestyle: Nineteenth-century Japanese artist

Rinpa art and freestyle: Nineteenth-century Japanese artist

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The life of Ikeda Koson (1803-1868) is difficult to put together because many areas remain unknown. Yet, he was blessed to study under the renowned Sakai Hôitsu (1761-1828).

Hôitsu firmly belonged to a very different Japan that was steeped by the traditions of the Edo period. Despite Koson passing away in the same year that the Meiji period (1868-1912) begun, he obviously belongs to the same era but his Japan was very different. This relates to the growing encroachment of Western ideas and the pangs of Japanese modernization.

The influence of Hôitsu especially impacted Koson during his informative years. However, despite being steeped in Rinpa art he would develop a more freestyle form of art. Indeed, some indicate that he was a bridge to the early Nihonga movement that flourished after the first few decades of the Meiji period.

Koson created adorable flower and plant art pieces with his own distinctive features. Of course, others were more steeped in the traditions of Rinpa and less innovative. Yet, his potent style when came to light was extremely noticeable.

He also excelled at ink painting. This fact enabled Koson to expand on different themes. While during his last few years he published two books that highlighted the artistic works of Kôrin and Hôitsu.


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