Japan art and Sakai Dōitsu: His heart belonged to the old world
Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
The artist Sakai Dōitsu (1845-1913) was born during a very revolutionary period in Japan. This applies to the Meiji Restoration (1868-1912). However, Dōitsu firmly belongs to the rich world of rinpa (rimpa) art.
Hence, while Dōitsu witnessed enormous changes during his lifetime, it is difficult to see this in his art. Instead, the high culture of the old world remained within his soul.
Thus the continuity of the past was embedded in Dōitsu and this is his legacy. Thereby he preserved the rich traditions of rinpa art and passed this on to the next generation. Similarly, the more famous Kamisaka Sekka (1866-1942) went against the grain.
Sekka also expressed his art more imaginatively rather than Dōitsu who was more conservative. Hence, Confucianism and other noble ideas impacted greatly on Dōitsu.
It is known that Dōitsu studied under Nozaki Shin’ichi (1821-1899) during his informative years. Likewise, his pragmatism meant that he held important meetings and exhibitions regarding rinpa. Therefore, while Dōitsu isn’t the first rinpa artist who springs to mind, he still played an important role during a time of rapid change.
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