Japan art and Watanabe Shiko (1683-1755)

Japan art and Watanabe Shikō (1683-1755)

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The Japanese artist Watanabe Shikō (1683-1755) was gifted from a very young age. One can only imagine how the cultural imprints of Kyoto shaped him. 

He was born in Kyoto. Hence, the rich religious and cultural angles of Koyasan, Nara, Negoro-ji, and other places not so far from Kyoto will have been natural paths to visit. 

Sadly, little is known about his early life. However, in the diary of the esteemed Konoe family, his relationship with Ogata Kōrin (1658–1716) and his brother Ogata Kenzan (1663-1743) is mentioned. Therefore, Watanabe knew the highly acclaimed artist Kōrin from a young age – this points to Watanabe’s early artistic talent.

Watanabe was blessed with an independent artistic spirit. Thus he fused Kano-style art and rinpa (rimpa) art when required. Hence, his style is distinctive for this period of Japanese history.

He was influenced by Kōrin and the Kyoto circle of artists he encountered when young. However, Watanabe took a bold approach to art and fused artistic ideas that meant so much to him.

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