The most flourishing school in the history of Japanese painting is known as the Kano school.
In the Taisho era (1912-1926), a book was written by a descendant of the Kano school in order to revive the now extinct technique.
This is Tansei Shinan.
In this article, Tansei Shinan is translated into modern Japanese to explain about the author, Shujo Ichikawa, who left the techniques of the Kano school to the present day.
Editor’s history of “Tansei Shinan” of the Kano School
I (Shujo Ichikawa) entered the workshop of the late Kano Tadahara (brother of the late Fukami and father of the present Tadatake) during the Ansei Era, the end of the Edo Period.
Just as I was learning about painting and all things paint there, the Nishimaru Castle of the Shogunate was completely destroyed by accidental fire.
The Kano family ordered the construction of a new castle, and I was in charge of coloring the decorative paintings in the rooms.
In addition to Nishimaru Castle, I also worked at Kan-eiji Temple in Ueno, Zojoji Temple in Shiba, and other Buddhist temples, coloring the decorative paintings in their halls.
Through these experiences, I was able to learn how to use intense coloring techniques.
However, I was clumsy by nature and could not paint even one of the monstrosities satisfactorily, so I stopped painting in the middle of my research.
Today, nearly 30 years later, the coloring of paintings in the world has become lazy and frivolous.
I cannot help but mourn angrily when I see that paintings are no longer able to retain their colors indefinitely.
Around 34 years ago, two calligraphers, the late Tsuboi Shanshu and Kohshu Ryoshin, encouraged me, in my inexperience, to write this book and make it public.
I could not refuse, and eventually I accepted the challenge.
I was finally given the contract. I wrote drafts of the book whenever I had free time, but I wondered what I was going to do with them.
I am not good at writing, and I had stopped drawing for a long time, so I let my mind wander and wrote down a series of ideas, and sometimes they would come to me again later.
As I wrote them down, I was finally able to complete this book.
I was finally able to put it into shape by correctly distinguishing the order of everything from “dosa solution” (sizing agent) to types of paints and how to use them, deleting the overly complicated parts, and supplementing the missing parts.
However, it was poorly written and many parts of it were not as good as I had hoped.
So I would appreciate it if you could tolerate the parts that I have not done well.
Taisho 4 (1915) Late Spring, Taisho Era (written by Morishige Ichikawa 74 years old.)
Reference sites for Japanese painting technique books, etc.
You can browse as well as download for free!
The modern version of Tansei Shinan! The bible of Japanese painting.
You can purchase copies (photocopies) of pages from Japanese libraries.
Japanese painting article here!