Arthur M Sackler Gallery and the Freer Gallery of Art - The National Museum of Asian Art - Smithsonian Institution
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The Decorative Modes of the Kenzan Style
The Scholar-Recluse
The lifestyle of the scholar-recluse, represented in Chinese literature and painting, was pursued by cultivated Kyoto people fascinated by Chinese texts, rituals, leisure activities, and goods. As a young man, Ogata Kenzan used his inheritance to build a villa northwest of Kyoto, where he adopted a reclusive lifestyle of study. He enjoyed reading, poetry, and calligraphy, interests that formed a foundation for much of the later Kenzan style in ceramics. His designs at his Narutaki pottery workshop incorporated images and poems relating to the scholar-recluse ideal. He used brown or blue-black pigments to render the Chinese-style imagery, replicating the effect of ink on paper or silk.

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