Kimura school

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  • Japanese: 木村(Kimura ryuu)

The Kimura school, based in Kyoto, was the preeminent school of painters of Buddhist works (ebusshi), in service to the Tokugawa shogunate. Professional painters, the craftsmen of the Kimura school were not monks, as was typical of makers of Buddhist sculpture.

Little is known of the origins or early history of the school. The first head of the school to work for the Tokugawa shogunate described himself as the fourth-generation head of the school, and the fourth Kimura Ryôtaku, a name which would be held by most of the twelve Edo period heads of the school.

Kimura Ryôtaku IV served Toyotomi Hideyoshi before coming to work for the shogunate. The sixth Ryôtaku, head of the school in the 1670s, produced a number of paintings for the shogunate's temples at Nikkô, including works used in ceremonies surrounding the 21st anniversary of the death of Shogun Tokugawa Iemitsu (d. 1651); Ryôtaku VI was also known as Ryôki, and as Nikkô-an. Ryôtaku XI, head of the school in the 1810s, similarly oversaw the production of works commissioned in conjunction with the 200th anniversary of the death of Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu (d. 1616).


  • Timon Screech, Obtaining Images, University of Hawaii Press (2012), 103-106.