Kano Tanyu (1602-1674) was one of the foremost painters of the Kyoto-based Kano School of artists and the grandson of the Kano Eitoku (1543-1590), who himself was a direct descendant of the founder of the Kano School, Kano Masanobu. It was Eitoku who was sponsored by the warlords Oda Nobunaga and Toyotomi Hideyoshi to decorate their castles in Azuchi and Osaka.
When the Tokugawa shoguns took up residence in Edo they invited the Kano painters to become official painters of the shogunate and move from Kyoto to Edo.
The motto of the Kano School was "a brush stroke unchanging over a thousand years" and the work of the various artists affiliated with the movement had a lasting effect on the decorative art of the Edo Period (1603-1867).
Commissioned by the Tokugawa shogunate as well as rich merchant and clerical patrons, the work of the Kano School, in both ink-on-silk landscapes and paintings on sliding doors, walls and byobu screens in temples, shrines, castles and wealthy patrons' homes, meant that the Kano School of art dominated Japanese painting until the end of the Edo Period and the coming of Western techniques at the beginning of the Meiji Period.
One of the most iconic paintings of the period is the 17th century mural by Kano Tanyu done on a sliding door in Nijo Castle, Kyoto. The hawk and pine trees in combination represent the power and longevity of the Tokugawa shogun.
This Kano Tanyu Miniature Byobu is available from our sister site Goods From Japan painted by a contemporary Kyoto master of byobu screen art.