Japan art and Sakai Dōitsu (1845-1913): Mount Fuji

Japan art and Sakai Dōitsu (1845-1913): Mount Fuji

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The Japanese artist Sakai Dōitsu (1845-1913) produced many adorable art pieces. In this article, the emphasis is on Mount Fuji and the foot of this revered mountain in Japan. 

Interestingly, Dōitsu belongs to a revolutionary period in Japan. This concerns the Meiji Restoration (1868) that replaced the Edo Period despite dying during the infancy of the Taisho Period. However, despite the momentous changes altering the landscape of Japan – economically, industrially, politically, and socially – Dōitsu adored classical rinpa (rimpa) art. 

The British Museum (first image of Mount Fuji) says, “Mt Fuji and pines: in foreground four pines of Miho-no-Matsubara, with rounded shaped cluster of needles, arranged in mountain shape; in background Mt Fuji with its peak covered with snow.” 

The color scheme of Mount Fuji is extremely striking. Hence, despite the simplicity, Dōitsu reaches the soul of the viewer. Therefore, the individual seems in easy reach of this revered mountain despite being far away – while the soothing aspect of nature comes alive. 

Bonhams says (art piece above), “In this work, Doitsu revisits a formula refined by a series of earlier Rinpa masters. The theme of Narihira pausing to recite a poem inspired by the snow at Fuji appears in painting as early as the thirteenth century, notably within the Ise monogatari emaki (Kuboso Memorial Art Museum), and can be traced through the Rinpa lineage from Ogata Korin (1658-1716) to his later admirer Sakai Hoitsu (1761-1828).” 

Overall, despite the revolutionary fervor of the period, Dōitsu provides a soothing angle concerning continuity. Also, he understands the inner strength of Japanese art despite the growing influence of Western art in this period of Japanese history. 




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