JIN Jingzhi 金靖之
Shanghai Museum 上海博物館

The Influence of Chinese Arts and Culture on Japanese Edo Period Paintings

Even before its entrance into the Edo period (1603-1867), Japan had already been influenced by the Tang and Song dynasties of China; as time went on, such distinct cultural and artistic influences gradually became integrated into Japanese culture. By the start of the Edo period, Japan also began to be influenced by the cultural ideologies of the late Ming and early Qing dynasties. By that point, Japan had been governed by the Tokugawa Shogunate for nearly 300 years, and was seeing rapid development both in terms of societal stability and economic prosperity. During this time, therefore, Japanese paintings, ceramics, crafts and arts more generally all saw similar growth: in which older, more uniform styles were rejected, and various new artistic genres were allowed to compete and flourish.

Due to the rapid development of the publishing industry, Edo period Japan was quickly introduced to the contemporary painting styles and artistic theories of the late Ming and Early Qing, which became highly prized by Japanese artists. The art of Japanese painting thus attained new heights in this time. Many Japanese intellectuals began diligently imitating what they considered the "ideal" lifestyles of Chinese literati, which in turn led to the birth of the school of "Japanese Literati Painting." Conversely, this period also saw the rise of the Kyoto school of Rimpa. Compared with literati, the affluent merchants who comprised the Rimpa movement's early supporters they focused on the quality of life: and thus Rimpa artists moved away from the literati style and began to feature the lives of regular Japanese people as subject matter. This talk will thus aim to discuss the artistic and cultural influence of traditional Chinese culture on Edo Japanese painting style, using the diverse painting styles of the Edo period as examples.