The Akita Ranga School and the cultural context in Edo Japan - Panevezys County Gabriele Petkevicaite-Bite Public Library

The Akita Ranga School and the cultural context in Edo Japan

The Akita Ranga School and the cultural context in Edo Japan

Imahashi Riko explores paintings by the Akita Ranga school—or more accurately, a single work by Odano Naotake (1749–80)—in her new volume. The painting, entitled Shinobazu Pond (Shinobazu no ike-zu), has exceptional qualities including its large size, fusion of disparate elements, and mesmerizing clarity. In the eighteenth century, the neighborhood of Shinobazu Pond in Ueno flourished as a center of scholarship and was acclaimed for [End Page 151] its lotus-filled pond. Strangely, however, Naotake’s pond is lotus-free. Other peculiarities appear in Naotake’s painting, such as an off-balance placement of a pot of peonies in the right foreground and a haunting lucidity in the rendering of the plant’s blossoms. The painting is somehow “imbued with a dreamlike tranquility,” as Imahashi states (p. 24). Imahashi reconstructs the layered depths of Shinobazu Pond, as she places it in the milieu of educated eighteenth-century Edoites.