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Painting Traditions

Larry Ellison’s collection focuses on three major traditions: works by members of the Kano school, Rinpa artists and individual masters in 18th-century Kyoto.
Kano school 
Kano-school paintings, such as the screens showing auspicious pines, bamboo, plum, cranes and turtles, are characterized by:
  • a bold combination of brilliant color and gold
  • strong ink brushwork 
  • powerful forms 
Auspicious pine bamboo plum crane and turtles
Auspicious pine, bamboo, plum, crane, and turtles, Edo period (1615 –1868), by Kano Sansetsu (1590–1651). Japan. Pair of six-panel folding screens; ink, colors, and gold on paper. Courtesy of the Larry Ellison Collection, EX 2013.2.015.2.
Rinpa tradition
Characteristics of the Rinpa tradition are seen in the screens showing maize and cockscomb.
Maize and Cockscomb detail
Maize and Cockscomb (detail), Edo period (1615–1868), 18th century. Japan. Pair of six-panel folding screens; ink, colors, and gold on paper. Courtesy of the Larry Ellison Collection, 2013.2.23.
In many Rinpa paintings the following characteristics stand out:
  • plants represented with a high level of botanical accuracy, creating dynamic tension with the shimmering gold-leaf background around them 
  • repeated patterns of natural forms such as curves of a stream and waves
  • the use of a technique called tarashikomi, in which diluted ink or color is dripped onto an already wet surface, seen in a rock’s spotted surface
18th-century Kyoto painters
This group includes independent Kyoto-based artists who developed innovative modes of artistic expression between 1750 and 1800. One standout artist was Yosa Buson. His kite in rain embodies an individualistic style, combining painting and poetry to render nature’s variety, using brushwork techniques of Chinese painting. Here, the kite is given great detail in contrast to the surrounding scenery, which is more impressionistic and atmospheric.  
Kite in rain
Kite in rain, Edo period (1615 –1868), by Yosa Buson (1716–1783). Japan. Hanging scroll; ink and light colors on paper. Courtesy of the Larry Ellison Collection, EX 2013.2.025.