Japan art and Mori Sosen (1747-1821): Delightful art of animals 

Japan art and Mori Sosen (1747-1821): Delightful art of animals 

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times 

The Japanese artist, Mori Sosen (1747-1821), is known for his amazing depictions of animals. This notably applies to monkeys and other related species. He was also fond of painting deers concerning his sublime artistic skill in this field. 

Debate remains about his actual birthplace. However, the environs of Osaka became his chosen city along with Kyoto. Naturally, with the richness of Koyasan, Kyoto, Nara, and other places on his doorstep, Sosen had countless places to connect with high culture, nature, and religion. 

The British Museum says, “Painter. Mori Sosen, who was active in the Osaka area, did many paintings of animals based on sketches from life and was especially known for his pictures of monkeys, deer being his next favorite theme. In about 1808, at the age of sixty-one, he even changed the first character of his name to one meaning ‘monkey’. He also founded a school of animal painting with his brother Shuho, in Osaka, which parallelled the Maruyama school in Kyoto.”

His first real teacher (his father helped him initially) was Yamamoto Joshunsai. Hence, Sosen studied the techniques of the Kanō school. However, before reaching his forties, he spent more time in the woods to focus on nature and learn the intricacies of animals. 

National Museum of Scotland says, “Sosen, was renowned for his sensitive portrayal of simians. It is believed that he observed monkeys in their natural habitat, hence his ability to subtlety capture the animals’ characteristic attitudes and movements.” 

Sosen was blessed with amazing brushwork and technical skills. Thus, he remains famous in Japan concerning this field of art.

https://www.britishmuseum.org/collection/term/BIOG6161

https://www.nms.ac.uk/explore-our-collections/stories/world-cultures/discovering-japan/discovering-japan/monkey-and-infant-on-a-pine-tree/

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