Honami Koetsu (本阿弥光悦)

Koetsu HONAMI (1558 - February 27, 1637) was a calligrapher and artist during the early Edo Period. He is the founder of the Koetsu style of calligraphy.

He was born into the Honami Family in Kyoto, with the family business of sword appraisal, polishing and cleaning. Koetsu most likely entered the family business. However, he is better known as one of the three greatest calligraphers of the Kanei Era (Kanei no Sanpitsu) and as an artist of many talents involving himself in pottery, Shitsugei lacquer art, the tea ceremony and literature.

He is also known as the person who founded an art village (Koetsu Art Village) in Takagamine, north of Kyoto. In 1615, Koetsu was given land in Takagamine by Ieyasu TOKUGAWA and moved into the area along with followers of the Hokke sect (Nichiren sect), including the Honami family, townspeople and craftsmen. As he respected dynastic culture and was under the patronage of the Emperor Gomizu-no-o, Ieyasu TOKUGAWA's real intention may have been to relocate Koetsu to a place as far away from Kyoto as possible because of his close ties with the Imperial Court. This theory is as yet unproven. After Koetsu's death, his residence became a temple for the Nichiren sect called the Koetsu-ji Temple.

Along with Sotatsu TAWARAYA and Korin OGATA, and as the founder of the Rin school of painting, his influence over future Japanese culture was significant
His Raku tea bowl is one of his most well-known works of pottery, and his decorative designed case for ink brush and stone is his most famous pieces of lacquer ware. Regarding his lacquer ware, it is unknown whether he actually produced the pieces himself or merely oversaw the production.

His Representative Works

Raku tea bowl, Fuji-san (Sunritz Hattori Museum of Arts, National Treasure)
Writing Box with Pontoon Bridge (Tokyo National Museum, National Treasure)
Tsuru Shitae Waka-maki (poem scroll with underpainting of cranes: calligraphy by Koetsu, underpainting by Sotatsu) (Kyoto National Museum, Important Cultural Property)
Flute case with deer design (The Museum Yamatobunkakan, Important Cultural Property)
Black Raku tea bowl, Ama-gumo (Mitsui Memorial Museum, Important Cultural Property)
Honpo-ji Temple (Kyoto City) (a place noted for scenic beauty)