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Biography of Japanese Painter

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Tanomura Chikuden (1777 - 1835)

Self-portrait of Tanomura Chikuden (1777 - 1835)

Bunjin-Ga and Nanga-style painter at the latter part of the Edo period.


Chikuden was born in Taketa Village of Bungo Province (present Taketa city of Ohita Prefecture) as the second son of Tamonura Sekian, official doctor of Oka Domain.
(The Kanji characters of "Taketa" can be read "Chikuden" in Chinese reading.)
Chikuden's real given name was Isokichi.
Chikuden is his pseudonym.
There are a lot of other pseudonyms of him.
The living of the family was quite tough with Sekian's low salary.
Chikuden entered the official school of Oka Domain when he was 11 years old.
He performed extremely well, however, he developed diseases with eyes and ears.
In 1794, when he was 18 years old, he lost his mother and elder brother.
Next year, he became the head of the Tanomura family and had an audience with the domain lord.
After the audience, he started studying painting under Fuchigami Kyokko.
As Chikuden was a person of considerable insight, he changed his job from an official doctor to an official adviser of the domain (Han).
In 1801, he went to Edo by the order of the Tokugawa Shogunate.
For several years since then, he had contacts with many famous painters and literary persons such as Tani Buncho, Kimura Kenkado, Urakami Gyokudo, Ueda Akinari and Rai Sanyo.


In 1811, a peasant revolt occurred in Oka Domain.
Chikuden tendered opinion briefs twice, though, those were rejected.
In 1812, he submitted his resignation in protest and also for treatment of his ill eyes.
Since then, he deepened friendships with literary persons such as Aoki Mokubei, Okada Hanko and Uragami Shunkin with traveling back and forth between Bungo Province and Kyoto, Osaka.
In 1835, Chikuden deceased at the official residence of Oka Domain in Osaka at the age of 59.
Takahashi Sohei, Hoashi Kyou and Tanomura Chokunyu (adopted child) are well-known as Chikuden's telented disciples.

Tsukiyo Sansui-zu, Sansui Landscape under the Moon Playing on a Boat Anko Soei-zu, Sansui-ga Ink Painting
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