I Fu-chiu and the relationship between Chinese and Japanese literati paintings
MetadataShow full item record
Painting has been the dominant form of Chinese art since the Southern Sung dynasty of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. The various preferences of emperors and the general populace influenced the social values and positions of the painting styles or schools in differet periods. Among the various styles, literati painting usually enjoyed a higher appreciation and reputation among the Chinese scholars and officials. There were no formal distinctions between the different styles, until the Ming dynasty painter-theorist, Tung Chi-ch’ang, who advocated and organized the distinctions between the Southern and Northern schools in Chinese painting. He classified the Southern school or literati painting as the most intellectual style of Chinese painting. Although the theories of Tung Chi-ch’ang were imperfect, it became an orthodoxy in the succeeding centuries. Tung chi- ch’ang’s theories as well as later Chinese painting manuals were brought to Nagasaki, Japan, during the Toku-gawa era by Chinese merchants. Although the primary concern of the merchants was mercenary, they also functioned as agents of cultural exchange and viewed the Chinese merchant-painter I Fu-chiu as one of the most important inspirers of the movement of the Japanese Nanga school. I Fu-chiu was an amateur painter from Wuhsing, the most artistic and intellectual center in the Yangtse delta. It was I Fu-chiu who, by- bringing his painting style to Nagasaki, also introduced the Chinese literati tradition, with which his work was thoroughly imbued, to the Japanese. The seventeenth century early stages of Nanga development were deeply influenced by Chinese traditions and philosophies and laid the groundwork for a new approach to individualism. That new individualism blossomed with Ikeno Taiga who combined both Chinese and Japanese styles to form his own individual style. Ikeno Taiga’s personal style included aspects of the Chinese literati traditons which had originally come to Japan through I Fu-chiu. Although the influences of I Fu-chiu and the Chinese literati tradition are not overtly obvious, they nevertheless do exist in the style of Ikeno Taiga.