A Short History of Japanese Nanga-school Painting in
《Museishiwa》(Discourseson Painting) by Kanai Uju
Japanese Nanga-school Painting (or Bunjinga, literati painting) was
developed from the first half of the 18th century to the latter half of the 19th
century, exactly speaking the end of the World War II 1945.
It has been so far argued the relationships between the various terms,
bunjinga, nanshuga, nanga, both in pre-modern and modern art history.
There are many discourses on paintinng in the Edo period, but a few
discourses by painter;for example as Nakayama Koyo, Kuwayama Gyokushu,
Nakabayashi Chikudo, and Tanomura Chikuden. These are most important
documents for developinig the arthistorical researches.
Kanai Uju was probably a last painter of literati painting in the Edo period.
His discourses on painting (Museishiwa) is well known, but is not
unfortunately considerated of its whole descriptions. It was written under the
influences of chinese literati art theory and especially《Sanchujinjozetsu》by
Tanomura Chikuden in autumn Kaei 6 (1853) in Nikko and published in the
Meiji era for the first time.
We can understand the special features and opinions of Kanai Uju, together
with copism and formalism of literati painting in view of the results of the
outlines and descriptions of Museishiwa. Furthermore, we can also discover
here the artistic styles and theories of painter and this discourses pointing out
the particular complicated circumstances of his masters and same generations
in Kanta district; for example as Tani Buncho, Haruki Nanko, Tachihara
Kyosho, Watanabe Kazan, Tsubaki Chinzan, Sugai Baikan and Takaku Aigai.