Bunjinga

DEFINITION

Bunjinga is a type of literary painting in China, Korea, and Japan. In Japan, the term bunjinga is often used synonymously with the term nanga. Among the early bunjinga artists were Gion Nankai (1677-1751), Yanagisawa Kien (1704-58), and Sakaki Hyakusen (1697-1752). Nankai and Kien belonged to the samurai class and they painted as a hobby and thus somewhat resembled China&#39;s scholar gentry. Hyakusen was considered a townsman and a professional painter. In China, bunjinga artists theoretically painted for their own pleasure and did not market their works, but in Japan many bunjin artists like Hyakusen openly made painting or teaching their livelihood. The patrons for bunjinga were people from a variety of backgrounds who were interested in Chinese culture. Japanese bunjin artists generally remained closer to Chinese models during this first phase, although the artistic styles vary dramatically, ranging from austere ink landscapes and bamboo paintings to colorful figures and decorative bird-and-flower paintings.<br>

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