Nihonga (日本画, "Japanese-style paintings") are Japanese paintings from about 1900 onwards that have been made in accordance with traditional Japanese artistic conventions, techniques and materials. While based on traditions over a thousand years old, the term was coined in the Meiji period of Imperial Japan, to distinguish such works from Western-style paintings or Yōga (洋画).
The impetus for reinvigorating traditional painting by developing a more modern Japanese style came largely from many artist/educators, which included Shiokawa Bunrin, Kōno Bairei, Tomioka Tessai and art critics Okakura Tenshin and Ernest Fenollosa, who attempted to combat Meiji Japan's infatuation with Western culture by emphasizing to the Japanese the importance and beauty of native Japanese traditional arts. These two men played important roles in developing the curricula at major art schools, and actively encouraged and patronized artists.
Nihonga was not simply a continuation of older painting traditions. In comparison with Yamato-e the range of subjects was broadened. Moreover, stylistic and technical elements from several traditional schools, such as the Kanō-ha , Rinpa and Maruyama Ōkyo were blended together. The distinctions that had existed among schools in the Edo period were minimized.
However, in many cases Nihonga artists also adopted realistic Western painting techniques, such as perspective and shading. Because of this tendency to synthesize, although Nihonga form a distinct category within the Japanese annual Nitten exhibitions, in recent years, it has become increasingly difficult to draw a distinct separation in either techniques or materials between Nihonga and Yōga.
The artist Tenmyouya Hisashi has (b. 1966) developed a new art concept in 2001 called "Neo-Nihonga".
Nihonga has a following around the world; notable Nihonga artists who are not based in Japan are Hiroshi Senju, American artists such as Makoto Fujimura, Judith Kruger and Miyuki Tanobeand Indian artist Madhu Jain. Taiwanese artist Yiching Chen teaches workshops in Paris. Judith Kruger initiated and taught the course "Nihonga: Then and Now" at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and at the Savannah, Georgia Department of Cultural Affairs.
Contemporary Nihonga has been the mainstay of New York's Dillon Gallery.Key artists from the "golden age of post war Nihonga" from 1985 to 1993 based at Tokyo University of the Arts have produced global artists whose training in Nihonga has served as a foundation. Takashi Murakami, Hiroshi Senju, Norihiko Saito, Chen Wenguang, Keizaburo Okamura and Makoto Fujimura are the leading artists exhibiting globally, all coming out of the distinguished Doctorate level curriculum at Tokyo University of the Arts. Most of these artists are represented by Dillon Gallery.
Nihonga are typically executed on washi (Japanese paper) or eginu (silk), using brushes. The paintings can be either monochrome or polychrome. If monochrome, typically sumi (Chinese ink) made from soot mixed with a glue from fishbone or animal hide is used. If polychrome, the pigments are derived from natural ingredients: minerals, shells, corals, and even semi-precious stones like malachite, azurite and cinnabar. The raw materials are powdered into 16 gradations from fine to sandy grain textures. A hide glue solution, called nikawa, is used as a binder for these powdered pigments. In both cases, water is used; hence nihonga is actually a water-based medium. Gofun (powdered calcium carbonate that is made from cured oyster, clam or scallop shells) is an important material used in nihonga. Different kinds of gofun are utilized as a ground, for under-painting, and as a fine white top color.
Initially, nihonga were produced for hanging scrolls ( kakemono ), hand scrolls ( emakimono ), sliding doors ( fusuma ) or folding screens ( byōbu ). However, most are now produced on paper stretched onto wood panels, suitable for framing. Nihonga paintings do not need to be put under glass. They are archival for thousands of years.[ citation needed ]
In monochrome Nihonga, the technique depends on the modulation of ink tones from darker through lighter to obtain a variety of shadings from near white, through grey tones to black and occasionally into greenish tones to represent trees, water, mountains or foliage. In polychrome Nihonga, great emphasis is placed on the presence or absence of outlines; typically outlines are not used for depictions of birds or plants. Occasionally, washes and layering of pigments are used to provide contrasting effects, and even more occasionally, gold or silver leaf may also be incorporated into the painting.
Okakura Kakuzō was a Japanese scholar who contributed to the development of arts in Japan. Outside Japan, he is chiefly remembered today as the author of The Book of Tea.
Kawai Gyokudō was the pseudonym of a Japanese painter in the nihonga school, active from Meiji through Shōwa period Japan. His real name was Kawai Yoshisaburō.
Hashimoto Gahō was a Japanese painter, one of the last to paint in the style of the Kanō school.
Tomioka Tessai was the pseudonym for a painter and calligrapher in imperial Japan. He is regarded as the last major artist in the Bunjinga tradition and one of the first major artists of the Nihonga style. His real name was Yusuke, which he later changed to Hyakuren.
Yokoyama Taikan was the pseudonym of a major figure in pre-World War II Japanese painting. He is notable for helping create the Japanese painting technique of Nihonga. His real name was Sakai Hidemaro.
Japanese painting is one of the oldest and most highly refined of the Japanese visual arts, encompassing a wide variety of genres and styles. As with the history of Japanese arts in general, the long history of Japanese painting exhibits synthesis and competition between native Japanese aesthetics and the adaptation of imported ideas, mainly from Chinese painting, which was especially influential at a number of points; significant Western influence only comes from the later 16th century onwards, beginning at the same time as Japanese art was influencing that of the West.
Makoto Fujimura is an American artist. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Bucknell University, then studied in a traditional Japanese painting doctorate program for several years at Tokyo University of the Arts with several notable artists such as Takashi Murakami and Hiroshi Senju. His bicultural arts education led his style towards a fusion between fine art and abstract expressionism, together with the traditional Japanese art of Nihonga and Kacho-ga.
Hishida Shunsō was the pseudonym of a Japanese painter from the Meiji period. One of Okakura Tenshin's pupils along with Yokoyama Taikan and Shimomura Kanzan, he played a role in the Meiji era innovation of Nihonga. His real name was Hishida Miyoji. He was also known for his numerous paintings of cats.
Gyoshū Hayami was the pseudonym of a Japanese painter in the Nihonga style, active during the Taishō and Shōwa eras. His real name was Eiichi Maita.
Yōga is a style of artistic painting in Japan, typically of Japanese subjects, themes, or landscapes, but using Western (European) artistic conventions, techniques, and materials. The term was coined in the Meiji period (1868–1912) to distinguish Western-influenced artwork from indigenous, or more traditional Japanese paintings, or Nihonga (日本画).
Tsuchida Bakusen was the pseudonym of a Japanese painter in the Nihonga style, active during the Taishō and early Shōwa eras. His birth name was Tsuchida Kinji (土田金二).
Kyoto City University of Arts a.k.a. “Kyōtogeidai”. The official abbreviated name is“Kyōgei”. KCUA is a public, municipal university of general art and music in Kyoto, Japan. Established in 1880, it is Japan's oldest university of the arts. Among its faculty and graduates have been 16 recipients of the Order of Culture, 24 members of the Japan Art Academy, and 10 artists who have been designated Living National Treasures. It has been associated especially closely with nihonga painters from western Japan.
Buddhism played an important role in the development of Japanese art between the 6th and the 16th centuries. Buddhist art and Buddhist religious thought came to Japan from China through Korea. Buddhist art was encouraged by Crown Prince Shōtoku in the Suiko period in the sixth century, and by Emperor Shōmu in the Nara period in the eighth century. In the early Heian period, Buddhist art and architecture greatly influenced the traditional Shinto arts, and Buddhist painting became fashionable among wealthy Japanese. The Kamakura period saw a flowering of Japanese Buddhist sculpture, whose origins are in the works of Heian period sculptor Jōchō. During this period, outstanding busshi appeared one after another in the Kei school, and Unkei, Kaikei, and Tankei were especially famous. The Amida sect of Buddhism provided the basis for many popular artworks. Buddhist art became popular among the masses via scroll paintings, paintings used in worship and paintings of Buddhas, saint's lives, hells and other religious themes. Under the Zen sect of Buddhism, portraiture of priests such as Bodhidharma became popular as well as scroll calligraphy and sumi-e brush painting.
Painting is the practice of applying paint, pigment, color or other medium to a solid surface. The medium is commonly applied to the base with a brush, but other implements, such as knives, sponges, and airbrushes, can be used.
Nihon Bijutsuin is a non-governmental artistic organization in Japan dedicated to Nihonga. The academy promotes the art of Nihonga through a biennial exhibition, the Inten Exhibition.
Kagaku Murakami was a Japanese painter and illustrator, noted for his numerous Buddhist subjects and advancement in the techniques of nihonga (Japanese-style) painting in the early 20th century.
Hiroshi Senju is a Japanese Nihonga painter known for his large scale waterfall paintings.
Tamako Kataoka was a Japanese Nihonga painter.
Fukui Fine Arts Museum opened in Fukui, Fukui Prefecture, Japan, in 1977. The collection, numbering some 2,840 pieces, includes prints by Goya and Picasso and paintings by Iwasa Matabei and artists associated with Okakura Tenshin and the beginnings of the Nihon Bijutsuin. The museum played and important role for contemporary artist Ay-O by hosting his first retrospective in 2006.
Ueba Esou is a manufacturer and seller of natural pigments used in Japanese-style paintings (Nihonga), with more than 260 years of history. It is located in the Shimogyō-ku ward of Kyoto.