Sotatsu, Tawaraya (1600?-1650?) by Scholes, Robert

Tawaraya Sotatsu (1600 – 1650) This Japanese artist often worked with calligraphers on silk screens. His careful but energetic draftsmanship is remarkable. His work was sufficiently well known to modernists for Ezra Pound to say of a British artist, “he’s been looking at Sotatsus” . (NA 22.26:504) From @ Gregg Baker Oriental Art : Little is known about Sotatsu in his early years and nothing is known of his family background or his initial training as an artist. What is known, however, is that Sotatsu owned and operated a shop in Kyoto known as ‘Tawaraya’ where he produced and sold such items as fans, dolls, shikishi (poem slips), and screens. It is generally accepted that Sotatsu‘s career started around the end of the sixteenth century when he began to work with Hon’ami Koetsu (1558-1637), his cousin by marriage. This partnership proved to be a very successful one and the work they produced which was predominantly in shikishi and scroll format was held in high regard by their patrons – the courtiers of the day – who sought to preserve and revive the courtly arts and values of the Heian–period. After about 1602 Sotatsu moved away from small-scale designs on paper and began his career as an independent painter and was the first member of the merchant class to be awarded the honorary title of Hokkyo at around 1620. .Sotatsu’s death is not recorded, but he is thought to have passed away around the year 1640. Traditionally the title of Hokkyo would then be passed on to the master’s successor and at around 1642 a pupil named Sosetsu inherited this title.

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