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Biography of Japanese Painter

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Sesshu Toyo (1420 - 1506 ?)

Self-portrait of Sesshu

Most prominent Japanese Suiboku-ga painting master at the middle part of the Muromachi period (1336 - 1573).
Zen Buddhist monk, painting monk.


Sesshu was born in Akahama of Bicchu Province (=Now Okayama Prefecture).
When he was around 10 years old, he left Bicchu for Kyoto and was educated under Shunrin Shuto at the Shokoku-Ji Temple to become a Rinzai Zen Buddhist priest.
At the same time, Sesshu studied painting under Shubun.
Around 1454, he moved to Yamaguchi of Suo Province (Now Yamaguchi Prefecture) and built the Unkoku-An studio under the aegis of Ouchi daimyo family.


In 1468, Sesshu joined a trading trip between Japan and Ming Dynasty, he landed in Southern China.
For two years, he studied and researched the ink and wash painting wandering from place to place in China.
He also displayed a great talent in China.
In 1469, he went back to Japan.
After the return, he developed confidence and established his maverick Suiboku painting style.

Ama no Hashidate-zu Autumn View, Aki Fuyu Sansui-zu Winter View, Aki Fuyu Sansui-zu Seika Cuts his Arm From Sansui Chokan 1 From Sansui Chokan 2
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