Ike no Taiga

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Ike no Taiga (池大雅)(1723–1776) was a Japanese painter and calligrapher born in Kyoto during the Edo period. Together with Yosa Buson, he perfected the bunjinga (or nanga) genre. The majority of his works reflected his passion for classical Chinese culture and painting techniques, though he also incorporated revolutionary and modern techniques into his otherwise very traditional paintings. As a bunjin (文人, literati, man of letters), Ike was close to many of the prominent social and artistic circles in Kyoto, and in other parts of the country, throughout his lifetime.


Ike no Taiga was born into a poor and socially humble family; his father was a farmer on the outskirts of Kyoto. The family moved into Kyoto proper some years before Taiga's birth, possibly to escape famine. His father found work at the silver mint, which granted his family some small degree of wealth, but he died when Taiga was three years of age. Taiga's widowed mother somehow managed to afford to provide him with good teachers, in all the classical Japanese and Chinese disciplines. At age six, he began receiving instruction in calligraphy and religious matters at the Mampuku-ji Zen temple. He would continue to foster strong connections with this temple for the remainder of his life.

By age fourteen, Taiga was a professional artist and distinguished calligrapher. He ran a small fan-painting shop in Kyoto, and engraved artists' and collectors' seals as well. It was an encounter with Yanagisawa......
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