Themes Essays Idleness

Themes Essays Idleness-23
They also worked in a variety of formats, from handscrolls and folding screens to albums of paintings and illustrated books in response to demand.This section introduces the many faces of Tsurezure-e.No contemporary record exists, however, of Kenko as the author of Essays in Idleness (Tsurezuregusa), and no trace existed, for a considerable time, of appreciation for that work.

They also worked in a variety of formats, from handscrolls and folding screens to albums of paintings and illustrated books in response to demand.This section introduces the many faces of Tsurezure-e.No contemporary record exists, however, of Kenko as the author of Essays in Idleness (Tsurezuregusa), and no trace existed, for a considerable time, of appreciation for that work.

Appreciation of classical literature flourished in the early Edo period in the context of a trend for reviving classical culture in which the Emperor Go-Mizunoo (1596-1680) played a central role.

With a rapid increase in demand for paintings with themes taken from classical literature, large numbers of Tsurezure-e were produced in this period.

Above all, Kenko gives voice to a distinctively Japanese aesthetic principle: that beauty is bound to perishability.

The idea that idleness is the narrator’s most potent characteristic appears even from the title given to the collection of essays.

Responding to that growing demand, several schools of painting, including the Kano, Tosa, and Sumiyoshi schools, turned to creating their own Tsurezure-e.

As a result, there is no discernible correlation in style or motif between their works; artists freely chose which episodes to depict.

Over a century after Kenko completed Essays in Idleness in the closing years of the Kamakura period (probably around 1333), the work began to gain a sympathetic reception among the poets and linked-verse masters of the Muromachi period (1336-1573).

In the Edo period (1600-1868), with the shogunate’s encouragement of scholarship and the development of printing technologies, the essays swiftly captured a wide readership.

The Suntory Museum recently acquired the twenty volumes of Tsurezuregusa handscrolls by Kaiho Yusetsu for its collection.

For Tsurezure-e, artists usually painted several scenes, having selected popular episodes from the Essays in Idleness or episodes that readily lent themselves to depiction.

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