Kamisaka Sekka: Rinpa Traditionalist, Modern Designer
Japan's Meiji era was a time of dramatic cultural change. Industry, the military, transportation, fashion, architecture, the arts—all aspects of Meiji society embraced modernization.
Kamisaka Sekka (1866–1942) flourished during this vibrant period. Deeply rooted in tradition—he led the revival of Rinpa, a style created in the seventeenth century—Sekka was a progenitor of modern design in Japan, creating imaginative, innovative imagery. He cooperated with other artisans to apply his designs to ceramics, lacquerware, and textiles, and in doing so, he became an influential transitional figure.
In addition to his work as a designer, Sekka produced several suites of prints, published as multivolume books. In transforming his paintings into woodcuts for reproduction, he revised his style to suit the medium. The resultant dramatic, powerful graphics are imbued with his signature elegant and delicate touch and reflect the artist's melding of Western and Japanese design influences.
The Clark Center for Japanese Art and Culture in Hanford, California, holds a magnificent collection of Kamisaka Sekka's works. Chosen for this book are the complete sets of prints from three of his best-known publications: All Kinds of Things (Chigusa), All Kinds of Butterflies (Chō senshū), and Things from Many Worlds (Momoyogusa). More than 160 woodblock prints are collected here, with an introductory essay authored by Andreas Marks, director and chief curator at the Clark Center. Kamisaka Sekka: Rinpa Traditionalist, Modern Designer secures this seminal artist's legacy as one of the most important designers of the early twentieth century.