Page:A history of Japanese colour-prints by Woldemar von Seidlitz.djvu/98

This page has been validated.

36

Japanese Colour-Prints

work, for he is said to have painted some very beautiful things in the Buddhistic style.[1]

The fierce contests which were fought out during the twelfth century between the noble families of Minamoto (Genji) and Taira (Heike), and which ended in its concluding years with the elevation of Minamoto no Yoritomo to the Shogunate (Generalissimoship), brought about a noteworthy change in art: the Kasuga school was succeeded, in the beginning of the thirteenth century, by the Tosa school, which was destined to long activity and profound influence, and whose significance, as chief representative of the national Japanese style, the Yamato-ye, became especially conspicuous when, in the fifteenth century, the influence of Chinese style reasserted itself with renewed strength, and led to the founding of the Kano school, equally eminent, but pursuing other aims. The Tosa school represented courtly art, which had its centre in the imperial residence at Kioto, in the middle of Japan, whereas the Shogun, who at the end of the civil war had achieved independence, had set up his residence first in Kamakura in the Kuanto, then in Yedo, the present Tokio, on the south-east coast. The period is thence known as the Kamakura period (1181–1333). During it feudalism developed itself, the Samurai, hitherto the warrior caste, rising to be the caste of nobility. It was particularly on the makimonos, long horizontal rolls with many figures, as also on screens and in gift-books, that this school depicted, with the delicacy and minuteness of a miniature, those historical scenes from the battles of the Fujiwara, Minamoto, and Taira, from court festivals and the life of chivalry, which may be taken as the faithful expression of national Japanese feeling. Such pictures, with their brilliant colouring of vermilion, blue, and green, standing out from a background of gold, give an

  1. Bing, in the Revue blanche (1896), p. 166; Fenollosa, Review, p. 13; Anderson, Transact., p. 345.