Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Hasegawa, Tōhaku

Maple Tree
golden vertical rectangular panel (fusuma) : large sliding door where strong, bright, mineral pigments were applied over gold foil backgrounds
172.5×139.5cm (x 4 panels)
Daiho'in Temple, Chishaku'in, Japan

Hasegawa, Tōhaku (1539 - 1610) was a Japanese painter during the Azuchi-Momoyama period of Japanese history. He was born in a town located in the vicinity of present-day Ishikawa prefectures to a noted local family of cloth dyers.
He admired the Japanese monk-painter Sesshū Tōyō (1420-1506) and the works of Sesshū in particular influenced Tōhaku's artistic style. Tōhaku was in fact so much enamored with the techniques of Sesshū that he attempted to claim rights as his fifth successor.
Tohaku received many commissions from major temples and ruling military families such as Hideyoshi Toyotomi, who unified, then ruled Japan and Ieyasu Tokugawa, founder of the Edo government which took over after Hideyoshi. At the age of 67, Tōhaku was summoned from Kyoto to Edo and granted the ecclesiastic painter's title.
He was the first painter to use pine trees exclusively as the subject of a major works.