Skip to main content Skip to Search Box
Summary Article: Koetsu Hon'ami
from The Columbia Encyclopedia

(kō'ĕtsō´´ hônä'mē), 1558–1637, Japanese artist, poet, calligrapher, tea master, and landscape gardener. Considered one of the greatest and most influential artists of the 17th cent., his painting, calligraphy, and related arts used a stylized version of the yamato-e style of traditional Japanese art. His career flourished during the brilliant Momoyama period (1573–1615), which served as a historical bridge between medieval and early modern Japan. Together with Sotatsu, Koetsu is credited with founding the Rimpa school, which promoted a decorative style that included the use of bright colors, gold or figured grounds for paintings, and liquid washes. With Suminokura Soan, he published the Sagabon, for which he did the calligraphy accompanying the plates. In the late 1590s, he became interested in ceramics, especially raku tea bowls of a thin, delicate nature. He also founded an artistic community at Takagamine that produced countless objects of great beauty and refinement. One of his most famous works is the Deer Scroll (Seattle Art Museum), in which his calligraphy accompanies Sotatsu's graceful ink drawings.

  • See Fischer, F. et al., The Arts of Hon'ami Koetsu, Japanese Renaissance Master (2000).
The Columbia Encyclopedia, © Columbia University Press 2018

Related Articles

Full text Article Koetsu Hon'ami (1558 - 1637)
A Biographical Dictionary of Artists, Andromeda

Calligrapher, potter, and designer, Hon'ami Koetsu was the greatest all-round figure in Japanese art. He was a member of the...

See more from Credo