Page:A history of Japanese colour-prints by Woldemar von Seidlitz.djvu/88

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32

Japanese Colour-Prints

which is now, however, supposed to be appreciably later; a fresco of Indian character in the Horiuji Temple; six paintings on a folding-screen, representing the "Beauties under Trees," which are Chinese in style, but already Japanese in feeling. A portrait of Kobo Daishi, a saint of the early ninth century, by the priest Gonzo, is also mentioned.

Kose no Kanaoka, as a son of that ninth century which the powerful China of the Tang dynasty influenced so profoundly, worked entirely under the spell of the Chinese, and especially of the Buddhist school. He lived from about 850–890. His teacher had been a Chinese emigrant named Gokioshi. As Kanaoka's chief work are mentioned the pictures of the Chinese sages, which he copied in 888 from Chinese originals in the palace of Kioto (whither the capital had been transferred from Nara in 794). Besides pictures of deities according to Buddhistic rules, he also painted representations from life, or from history and tradition, as well as landscapes and animals; it is reckoned as his principal merit that he enlarged the traditional scope of representation by including scenes taken from Japanese history, from heroic legend, and from the lives of celebrated priests. Gonse had alleged that only four paintings of Kanaoka's could still be traced; one of these, a kakemono belonging to the dealer Wakai of Tokio, which represents the Buddhist saint Jizo, is reproduced in his l'Art Japonais (i. 169). Fenollosa, however, considered two of these pictures to be certainly of later origin, and the remaining two doubtful; but he names three others in their stead, which in his view are to be reckoned among the very grandest creations of Japanese art, and on the basis of these he defines Kanaoka's position by a comparison with that of Phidias in Greek art.[1] In the Boston Museum are four paintings which are

  1. Anderson, Transact., p. 342 f.; the same, Cat., p. xv.; Gierke, p. 12; Gonse in Cat. of Jap. Ex. at Paris, 1883; Fenollosa, Review (1885), p. 9 ff.