Ogata Korin (Dictionary of World Biography: The 17th and 18th Centuries)
Article abstract: Korin worked within traditional Japanese aesthetic forms to produce an art of originality and universality that for many epitomizes Japanese taste. His screen of irises is one of the most widely known of all Japanese paintings.
Ogata Kōrin was the son of Ogata Sōken, a wealthy textile merchant and owner of the shop called Kariganeya (“Golden House of the Wild Goose”), which specialized in the design and weaving of brocades. Kōrin studied painting first with his father and then with Yamamoto Sōken of the Kyōto branch of the Kanō school of painters. The Kanō school represented aristocratic taste in the era before Kōrin, and the Kariganeya’s chief customers were the aristocracy and the feudal lords (daimyo). The daimyo were forced, because of court pressures, to spend enormous sums on clothing, frequently leading to their financial ruin. When the Ogata family’s most important customer, the Empress Tofukumon-in, died in 1678, the Kariganeya’s fortunes began to decline. The Ogata family had lost money in making loans to the daimyo, loans which proved to be uncollectable. An attempt to attract customers from the lower merchant class failed, and by 1697 family bankruptcy had resulted.
The Ogata family moved in aristocratic circles and the world of learning and the arts, while deriving its livelihood from a business establishment that called for the highest artisan...
(The entire section is 1434 words.)
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