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Muromachi Period Painting

Chinese-style ink painting, which was first introduced to Japan during the Kamakura period, had a profound impact on the art of Muromachi-period Japan (1392-1568). The history of painting during that period is marked by the spread of Chinese techniques and themes from the temples affiliated with Zen Buddhism, where such works were often used in meditative or ritual practices, to the studios of professional painters who were not necessarily associated with a religious institution and who had various patrons. In the 15th century, ink painting gained a cultural cachet as it moved out of the religious context and gained a wider audience.

The rise of professional painters during the late 15th and early 16th centuries also provided a stimulus for renewed Japanese interest in the academic Chinese tradition of bird and flower painting. Some Chinese bird and flower paintings were painted in bright colors, while others combined ink and lighter colors. They are noted for their extraordinary realism, in which intimate scenes from nature are captured with sensitivity and precision. Paintings of this type had been known in Japan as early as the Kamakura period, however, new examples were introduced to Japan in the 15th century as a result of renewal of official trade between the Ashikaga shoguns and Ming-period China.

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Bird on a Gardenia Branch

Pavilion in a Beautiful Field

Birds and Flowers

Bird on a Plum Branch

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