Japan art and Goshun: Flow of Buddhism, China, Confucianism, and Kansai

Japan art and Goshun: Flow of Buddhism, China, Confucianism, and Kansai

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Matsumura Goshun (1752-1811) was a Japanese artist. He belongs to the Edo Period and within a class that adored the rich cultural traits of the Middle Kingdom (China). Hence, from a very early age, the path of Goshun was planned by his wealthy family.

The region of Kansai also enriched the soul of Goshun. This concerns the amazing cultural and religious traits of Kyoto, Koyasan, Nara (the cradle of high culture in Japan), and other esteemed places.

One can easily imagine the early life of Goshun concerning classical history, calligraphy, literature, painting, poetry, and other areas related to the rich cultural traits of his native country and the Middle Kingdom. Equally important, the ties of religion and philosophy emanating from the plethora of Buddhist temples where he lived – to the indigenous connection of Shinto and the natural world.

The Met Museum says, “Goshun is one of the most important painters of late eighteenth-early nineteenth-century Japan. He is renowned as the founder of the Shijō school, itself generally allied with the Maruyama school established by the “realist” painter Maruyama Ōkyo (1733–1795). Goshun began his career as an artist when he left his prestigious job as an official at the government mint to study painting; the artists who influenced his development included his teacher Yosa Buson (1716–1783), one of the great masters of the Nanga school, and Ōkyo, whose studio he joined in 1787.”

Goshun first seriously studied painting in the rich cultural settings of Kyoto. His teacher, Onishi Suigetsu, provided a firm foundation for Goshun. In time, he would study the world of poetry and painting under the esteemed Yosa Buson.

The early 1780s were a time of deep anxiety and pain for Goshun. This concerns the death of his wife, his father, and Buson also departed from this world. However, from this tremendous adversity, Goshun would re-emerge and start on a new artistic path.


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