The essay "A Look at Japanese Scroll Paintings" analyzes Japanese Scroll Paintings. There are a number of great scroll paintings to note. One of them is Tosa Mitsuoki, who lived between 1617 and 1691. He was the sun of Tosa Mitsunori, also a painter as this family was a long line of Japanese artists, dating back to 1434. In earlier works, there was large use of traditional Japanse style, the yamato-e. It was Tosa Mitsuoki who used a bit of realism in his art, used little gold. He also tended to paint scenes that were not typically painted, scenes not portrayed before he painted them. Comparing past art in the Tosa family to the later ones, you can tell that the styles are different. The older paintings were more crowded, with more fantasy elements. The later ones showed realistic scenes, less gold. They all have the typical Japanese style, with paint covering every inch of scroll in some areas. In a particular painting, there are rich colors, details and in the style, says the source, of a Tosa school. Gold painted as clouds and mist frame most of the scenes. Most of the colors are flat, kind of a contrast to the gold that surrounds it. The many people in the scenes have long flowing robes folding over very heavy set looking people, people of money I presume. And their faces dramatically portrayed in each scene to reveal their emotions up front. Most of the images let you see inside the buildings so you can see what is going on inside and what is going on outside at the same time. For example, one has the Prince Genji in a boat coming up a river, while a daughter in a palace is looking outside. You can see her looking down into the boat.
The scroll paintings have a mix of different styles thought the centuries. Each one has some painting, some have Japanese calligraphy, noted that it states which scene the artists were focused on at that time. Some did not have calligraphy, as did the 17th century artists often did not. Not so many had a named artist either.
The original tale was painted in a set of about fifty-four chapters. For each chapter, the artists took on about two paintings per chapter. It is said from various sources that there were over a hundred paintings in the original scroll of art for The Tale of Genji. Each painting within the original scrolls was a little over seventeen inches long. The remainder of the collection that has survived until today is displayed at the Gotoh Museum in Tokyo and with other foundations.
Looking at several of these earlier scrolls and comparing them to the later scrolls painted by artists, the simplicity of the artists use is sort of a reminder of anime art today. This style is represented in the "simple dashes for eyes and hooks for noses", as described in the style that is hikime-kagihana. While simple in style, it was clear that the artists had a very high knowledge of the style of tsukurie, what they mentioned as manufactured painting.
One thing that did remain thorough out the centuries was the ability of looking into the life of those within the buildings. You will see people laying out tatami mats for sleeping or taking care of daily activities or holding court. The Tale of Genji does reveal a story, though it also reveals information about what goes on in the homes and life of the Japanese court.
The stories about Prince Genji and the life of the courts and the prince's antics are very richly