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5 facts about Tawaraya Sōtatsu

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By Gwylym Owen

Tawaraya Sōtatsu (俵屋 宗達, c. 1570 – c. 1640) was a Japanese furniture designer and painter of the Rinpa school.

Sōtatsu is best known for his decorations of calligraphic works by his accomplice Hon’ami Kōetsu (1558–1637), and his spectacular and terribly influential byōbu folding screens, such as National Treasures Wind God and Thunder God and his painting of the Sekiya and Miotsukushi chapters from The Tale of Genji. He as well as popularized a technique called tarashikomi, in which a second lump of paint is applied back the first addition is dry.

He is also credited with co-founding the Rinpa intellectual of Japanese painting, together with Kōetsu.Rinpa was not strictly a school, but a intervention of artist directly influenced by Sōtatsu and Kōetsu. Some of the most notable Rinpa artists are Ogata Kōrin (1658–1716), Ogata Kenzan (1663–1743) and Sakai Hōitsu (1761–1828).

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