Sōtatsu: Making Waves

Flowing Fans

Flowing FansIn early twentieth-century Japan, several groups supported the growing interest in new painting styles. The Yamato-e Revival Society, for example, focused on research and seeking access to original works; Hōshun joined that group in 1923. He was an avid student of classical Japanese painting styles. Like his contemporaries, he experimented with hybrid techniques, including uncharacteristically level perspective and the flat yamato-e (indigenous Japanese painting) style. He also had a background in oil painting.

Hōshun was extremely interested in the Rinpa school and collected works by Sōtatsu, Kōrin, and their followers. He explored Sōtatsu’s depictions of classical literature. Azusayumifrom Tales of Ise is from Hōshun’s collection. He wrote detailed analyses on Sōtatsu’s and Kōrin’s work, paying particular attention to their painting techniques.

Many of the techniques he used—the gold, silver, and the pooled pigments of tarashikomi—pay homage to Sōtatsu. Hōshun was cleverly subversive, however, and inserted a sense of realism—fans floating on a stream rather than a screen.

Flowing Fans
Yamaguchi Hōshun (1893–1971)
Japan, 1930
Two-panel folding screen
Color on paper
Hōshun Yamaguchi Memorial Hall

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