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Biography of Japanese Painter

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Kano Sansetsu (1589 - 1651)

Painter at the early part of the Edo period (1603 - 1868).
His given name was Heishiro-Mitsuie.
Sansetsu's the other pen names are Dasokuken, Togenshi, Shohaku-Sanjin, etc.
He was born in Hizen Province (=Now Nagasaki Prefecture) as a son of Chika Dohgen.
The family moved to Osaka.
When Sansetsu was 16 years old, his father died, and, his uncle asked Kano Sanraku (1559 - 1635) to make Sansetsu a pupil.
Kano Sanraku was the founder of the Kyoto Kano school (Kyo-gano).
Later, Sanraku admired Sansetsu's talent.
Sansetsu married Sanraku's daugher, and was adopted by him.
Sansetsu participated in drawing wall paintings with his adopted father.
He was ordained as Hokkyo rank.
In his last days, he was thrown into jail for some reason.
Even though he finally got out of the jail, he died soon at the age of 63.


Sansetsu succeeded the Kyoto Kano painting school from Sanraku.
Though, the mainstream of the all Kano schools was the Edo Kano school because the Shogun lived in Edo.
The Kyoto Kano was sidelined.
Therefore, Sansetsu blamed the Edo Kano very much.
The picture above is "The Old Plum (Ume Tree)" painted on the Fusuma doors.
The Ume tree grows up, then, once grows down, then, grows up again.
Trees never grow in such a way.
The experts give an explanation that this fantastic Ume tree implies Sansetsu's bitterness and perverse frame to the Edo Kano.

Robai-zu Fusuma, Old Ume Tree on Fusuma sliding doors Settei Suikin-zu Byobu Saseki (Left) Settei Suikin-zu Byobu Useki (Right) Bankoku-zu Rantei Kyokusui-zu Byobu
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