Japan: Muromachi, Momoyama, Edo/Tokugawa…. (1338-1868)

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Bamboo in the Four Seasons
Birds and Flowers of the Four Seasons

Cypress Trees

Hasekura Tsunenaga in Rome
Tigers and dragon
Fishing in Springtime
Black Hawk and two crows

This ultcult page looks at three Japanese periods:

Muromachi period, aka Ashikaga Period, took place during the Ashikaga Shogunate (1338–1573). It was named for a district in Kyōto, where the first Ashikaga shogun, Takauji, established his administrative headquarters.

The brief span of time during which first Oda Nobunaga and then Toyotomi Hideyoshi began the process of unifying the warring provincial leaders under a central government is referred to as the Azuchi-Momoyama, or Momoyama, period (1573 to 1615).

The Edo period or Tokugawa period ran between 1600 and 1868 in the history of Japan, when Japan was under the rule of the Tokugawa shogunate and the country’s 300 regional daimyō.


Muromachi: Bamboo in the Four Seasons. The traditional Chinese subject of bamboo is given a distinctly Japanese treatment in this rendition of the four seasons. Attributed to Tosa Mitsunobu, late 15th/early 16th c, 157 x 360.
Image source: metmuseum.org

Image source: metmuseum.org

Muromachi: Birds and Flowers of the Four Seasons. This composition of flowers in a seasonal progression from spring to winter celebrates longevity with its auspicious motif of cranes. The work dates to the late sixteenth century, 161 x 361, a six-panel folding screen, ink, color, gold, and gold leaf on paper.

Momoyama: Cypress Trees eight-panel folding screen, ink, colour, and gold leaf on paper, attributed to Kanō Eitoku, 1590. The work was painted on sliding doors but is now mounted as an eight-panel screen; in the Tokyo National Museum, Tokyo. 346.5 × 155.7 cm.
Image source: britannica.com

Image source: Wikimedia commons

Momoyama: Maple, colour on gold paper, at Tishakuin temple, Chishaku-in, Kyoto (1593). By Hasegawa Tōhaku, was a Japanese painter and founder of the Hasegawa school.
Edo: the San Juan Bautista is shown in the background of this Claude Deruet painting of Hasekura Tsunenaga in Rome in 1617. A close-up of the galleon is shown on the right hand side. it bears Hasekura’s flag (red manji on orange background) on the top mast.
Image source:

Image source:

Edo: Tigers and dragon, Kanō Sanraku was a Japanese painter whose works combine the forceful quality of Momoyama work with the tranquil depiction of nature, and they have a more refined use of color more typical of the Edo period. Folding screen held at the Myoshinji-temple. It is 178 x 357 cms, colour on paper, and dated to 17th c.
Edo: Sanjūrokkasen-gaku. Thirty-six Poetry Immortals. Dated to 1648, this is #3, by Kanō Tan’yū, it shows Ōshikōchi no Mitsune, a Heian administrator and waka poet of the Japanese court (859–925).
Image source:

Image source: Wikimedia commons
Image source:

Edo: Fishing in Springtime. It is ink and colour on silk and dated to 1747. Including mount it is 210 x 63 cms and on show at the Cleveland Museum of Art.
Edo: Black Hawk and two crows. These are by Yosa Buson (1716 – 1784), colour on paper, is considered as an important cultural asset of Japan. It is on show at the Kitamura Art Museum.

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