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Ogata Kōrin

1658-1716 Japan/Rinpa School


Brief Biography-Japanese Emperors did not yield political power; Power was with the Shoguns. Below them were the military lords called Daimyo, who employed Retainers or Samurai. Next were the farmers, followed by the artisans and at the bottom of the social strata were the merchants. The social hierarchy prevented merchant classes from using their wealth to establish power. Instead, they used their money for social rituals, the pursuit of pleasure, objects, and art. Ogata Kōrin, of a merchant family, was one such artist in the Edo period patronised by them. He was born in Kyoto, the brother of the potter Ogata Kenzan with whom he collaborated on painting ceramics; he also created lacquer boxes and silk kimonos. He died in poverty due to bad housekeeping. The Irises screens by Kōrin influenced the flowers of Van Gogh.


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irises at

irises at yatsuhashi



red and white
plum blossoms

red and white plum blossoms

wind god and
thunder god

wind god and thunder god