Japan art and Ikeda Koson: Edo artist

Japan art and Ikeda Koson: Edo artist

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The Japanese artist Ikeda Koson produced some notable pieces of art that remain of great cultural value in modern Japan. However, many areas of his life remain unknown – so the incomplete jigsaw remains. 

Indeed, his death is often put at 1866 but sometimes also 1868. Yet, it is known that he studied art under the highly acclaimed Sakai Hōitsu (1761-1828). Therefore, Koson must have shown great promise in the field of art when relatively young. 

The Smithsonian National Museum of Asian (art piece above) says, “This set of five paintings (F1999.5.1-.5) by Ikeda Koson depicts five ancient Japanese imperial court rituals (Gosseku) which had evolved from Chinese models during the Nara (710–794) and Heian (794–1185) periods. Elements of these rituals, sometimes referred to as the five sacred festivals, are found in contemporary Japanese festivals.” 

The Met Museum says, “Koson, a pupil of the Rinpa revivalist Sakai Hōitsu (1761–1828), brought a fresh vitality to standard themes in the Rinpa repertoire through his virtuoso brushwork and ability to convey naturalistic forms without sacrificing the bold decorative impact of his predecessors.”

Koson fluctuated between more traditional rinpa style art – to more individualistic styles that increasingly inspired him after his informative years under Hōitsu. Hence, he experimented with light and other angles to create his own style. 

He also published two books that highlighted the artistic works of Kôrin and Hôitsu. This brought him great pleasure. Also, Koson adored ink painting. 

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