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Biography of Japanese Painter

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Tomioka Tessai (1836 - 1924)

Tomioka Tessai

Painter and calligrapher in the Meiji and Taisho eras.
Tessai is regarded as the last Bunjin-ga style painter.


Tessai was born in Kyoto.
He learned Japanese classical literature and Chinese classics.
He came to be lodged with the poet and nun Otagaki Rengetsu.
And he interacted with Imperial loyalists in the last days of the Tokugawa shogunate.
Tessai married with the daughter of Nakajima Kayo when he was 30 years old, then, he had a daughter, but, his wife died.


After the Meiji Restoration, he served as a Shinto priest at several different shrines.
In 1869, he became a teacher of the private school Ritsumeikan.
From 1893 to 1904, he was in a position of a teacher of the Kyoto Municipal School of Art (Kyoto-shi Bijutsu Gakko).
Tessai founded the Southern School of Chinese Painting Asscociation of Japan (Nihon Nanga Kyokai) with Tanomura Chokunyu and the others.


His cherished motto was to read all Japanese and Chinese classical books and travel to every regeon of Japan.
Based on his astonishing amount of knowledge and experiences of trips, his works earned high praise.
Tessai himself said that "I am a literary person, painting is my hobby.".
So, he also said "Whenever you see my drawing, please see a Gasan Kanji wiriting at first."


On December 31 of 1924, he died at his home in Kyoto.

Sen En Kigu Zu 1919 Bunjin-ga - Tomioka Tessai Bunjin-ga - Tomioka Tessai
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