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Byōbu (屏風) (lit., "wind wall") are Japanese folding screens made from several joined panels, bearing decorative painting and calligraphy, used to separate interiors and enclose private spaces, among other uses.
Byōbu are thought to have originated in Han Dynasty China and are thought to have been imported to Japan in the 7th or 8th century. The oldest surviving byōbu produced in Japan, the torige ritsujo no byōbu (鳥毛立女屏風), produced in the 8th century, is kept in the Shōsōin Treasure Repository. Following the Heian period and the independent development of Japan's culture separate from mainland Asian infleunces, the design of byōbu developed further from previously Chinese influences, and came to be used as furnishings in the architectural style of Shinden-zukuri
The screens were a popular Japonism import item to Europe and America starting in the late 19th century. The French painter Odilon Redon created a series of panels for the Château de Domecy-sur-le-Vault in Burgundy, which were influenced by the art of byōbu.
Hasegawa Tōhaku was a Japanese painter and founder of the Hasegawa school.
The Kanō school is one of the most famous schools of Japanese painting. The Kanō school of painting was the dominant style of painting from the late 15th century until the Meiji period which began in 1868, by which time the school had divided into many different branches. The Kanō family itself produced a string of major artists over several generations, to which large numbers of unrelated artists trained in workshops of the school can be added. Some artists married into the family and changed their names, and others were adopted. According to the historian of Japanese art Robert Treat Paine, "another family which in direct blood line produced so many men of genius ... would be hard to find".
Ogata Kōrin was a Japanese painter, lacquerer and designer of the Rinpa school.
Tenshō Shūbun was a Japanese Zen Buddhist monk and painter of the Muromachi period.
Sakai Hōitsu was a Japanese painter of the Rinpa school. He is known for having revived the style and popularity of Ogata Kōrin, and for having created a number of reproductions of Kōrin's work.
Itō Jakuchū was a Japanese painter of the mid-Edo period when Japan had closed its doors to the outside world. Many of his paintings concern traditionally Japanese subjects, particularly chickens and other birds. Many of his otherwise traditional works display a great degree of experimentation with perspective, and with other very modern stylistic elements.
A folding screen or Ping feng in Chinese Mandarin is a type of free-standing furniture consisting of several frames or panels, which are often connected by hinges or by other means. They have practical and decorative uses, and can be made in a variety of designs with different kinds of materials. Folding screens originated from ancient China, eventually spreading to the rest of East Asia, and were popular amongst Europeans.
Nanban art (南蛮美術) refers to Japanese art of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries influenced by contact with the Nanban (南蛮) or 'Southern barbarians', traders and missionaries from Europe and specifically from Portugal. It is a Sino-Japanese word, Chinese Nánmán, originally referring to the peoples of South Asia and Southeast Asia. During the Nanban trade period, the word took on a new meaning when it came to designate the Portuguese, who first arrived in 1543, and later other Europeans. The term also refers to paintings which Europeans brought to Japan.
The Hikone screen is a Japanese painted byōbu folding screen of unknown authorship made during the Kan'ei era. The 94-×-274.8-centimetre (37.0 × 108.2 in) screen folds in six parts and is painted on gold-leaf paper. It depicts people in the pleasure quarters of Kyoto playing music and games. The screen comes from the feudal Hikone Domain, ruled by the screen's owners, the Ii clan. It is owned by the city of Hikone in Shiga Prefecture, in the Ii Naochika Collection.
Cypress Trees is a Kanō-school byōbu or folding screen attributed to the Japanese painter Kanō Eitoku (1543–1590), one of the most prominent patriarchs of the Kanō school of Japanese painting. The painting dates to the Azuchi–Momoyama period (1573–1615). Now in Tokyo National Museum, it has been designated a National Treasure.
Red and White Plum Blossoms is an early 18th-century painting on a pair of two-panel byōbu folding screens by Japanese artist Ogata Kōrin (1658–1716). The simple, stylized composition depicts a patterned flowing river with a white plum tree on the left and a red one on the right. The plum blossoms indicate the scene occurs in spring.
A tsuitate (衝立) is a form of single-panel portable partition traditionally used in Japan since at least the 6th century. They may be made of wood, or a wood frame covered in paper or silk cloth. The panels are often illustrated, with paintings on both sides, sometimes by well-known artists. The wood frame may be lacquered, and pricier tsuitate may be very richly decorated, including use of precious metals.
The Pine Trees screen is a pair of six-panel folding screens by the Japanese artist Hasegawa Tōhaku, founder of the Hasegawa school of Japanese art. The precise date for the screens is not known, but they were clearly made in the late 16th century, in the Momoyama period, around 1595. The screens are held by the Tokyo National Museum, and were designated as a National Treasure of Japan in 1952.
Irises is a pair of six-panel folding screens (byōbu) by the Japanese artist Ogata Kōrin of the Rinpa school. It depicts an abstracted view of water with drifts of Japanese irises. The work was probably made circa 1701–1705, in the period of luxurious display in the Edo period known as Genroku bunka.
Flowering Plants of Summer and Autumn (夏秋草図屏風) is a painting on a pair of two-folded byōbu folding screens by Rinpa artist Sakai Hōitsu depicting plants and flowers from the autumn and summer seasons.
Wind God and Thunder God is a painting on a pair of two-folded byōbu by Rinpa artist Ogata Kōrin, a replica of a similar work by Tawaraya Sōtatsu, depicting Raijin, the god of lightning, thunder and storms in the Shinto religion and in Japanese mythology, and Fūjin, the god of wind.
Rough Waves is a painting by the Japanese artist Ogata Kōrin, on a two-panel byōbu. The work was created c. 1704 – c. 1709, and depicts a swirl of stormy sea waves. It has been in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, since 1926, when it was acquired with financial support from the Fletcher Fund.
The Cracked Ice screen is a late 18th-century low two-fold Japanese screen (byōbu) intended for use at the Japanese tea ceremony. It was created in the Edo period and is signed and sealed by the artist, Maruyama Ōkyo (1733–1795), founder of the Maruyama school of realist painting. It would be used as a furosaki byōbu placed near the hearth of a room used for the Japanese tea ceremony, shielding the fire from draughts and also forming a decorative backdrop behind the tea utensils. It may have been intended to be used in the summer, to evoke the cool of the winter.
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