Biography of Japanese Painter

Tawaraya Sotatsu (? - ?)

Sotatsu is regarded as the founder of the Rinpa School along with Ogata Korin.
However, the Rinpa is the nominal designation at modern times, and, the painters who personally adored and followed Sotatsu and Korin (such as Sakai Hoitsu and Suzuki Kiitsu) are now categorized as the Rinpa painters.
They never thought that they were belonging to the Rinpa School.

Even though Sotatsu is a giant in the Japanese art world, the date of his birth and death are unknown.
Now, it is estimated that Sotatsu was born around 1570s or a little bit earlier.
Sotatsu operated a craft center in Kyoto whose shop name was "Tawaraya".
(It is believed that Sotatsu's surname was Nonomura".)
Painters at the craft center depicted paintings of Japanese fans, Byobu folding screens and others, and those products sold very well.
Sotatsu also colloaborated with the great artist Honami Koetsu of the Same generation.

One of the exploits of Sotatsu is that he developed the Suiboku ink painting which came from China, to Japanese individual.
He devised the "Tarashikomi" bleeding method and succeeded in giving depth to painting objects.

Sotatsu was ordained as high as Hokkyo rank even though he was a public artist.
It is thought that he deceased in the Kanei era (1624-1645) of the Tokugawa Shogunate period.
After his death, Tawaraya Sosetsu (younger brother or disciple) succeeded to his craft center.

  • Fujin-Raijin-zu Byobu, a pair of folding screens
  • Botan-zu, Japanese Peony
  • Bokubai-zu, Ume apricot drawn with Sumi ink
  • Ryu-zu, Dragon
  • Tsuru-zu Shita-e from 36 Master Poets Narrative Scroll Painting
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