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Itinerant Literati Painter, 1850–1866

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Chapter Summary

Taki Katei's practice was formed within this rich world, and an understanding of it is essential in order to appreciate the years he spent as an itinerant literati painter. The products of Katei's brush were based on a long tradition of plant, animal, and bird imagery, imbued with symbolic and auspicious meanings. In Japan under the Tokugawa shogunate, Chinese civilization continued to play a major role in society, art, and politics. The late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries were a period of lively artistic cross-fertilization in Japan. During the fifteen years following his visit to Nagasaki in 1851, Katei developed into a highly skilled producer of meticulously observed, delicately rendered bird-and-flower paintings (kachōga). The majority of Katei's works bear titles, usually comprising four Chinese characters, and these were associated with fixed pictorial elements conveying messages of prosperity.

Keywords: bird-and-flower paintings; Chinese characters; Chinese civilization; itinerant literati painter; Nagasaki; Taki Katei; Tokugawa shogunate



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