Kano Osanobu (狩野養信)

Osanobu Kano (born August 18, 1796; died June 12, 1846) was the ninth painter of the Kobikicho Kano School in the Edo period. His common name was Shozaburo. His father was Naganobu KANO, and Tadanobu KANO was his son. His Go (pen name) was Osanobu Seisenin, Kaishinsai, and Gyokusen.

Brief Personal History
He was born the eldest son of Naganobu ISENIN during the Edo period. He was first sent to serve at Edo Castle at the age of 15, and it appears that he was apparently pushed by his father to perform various public tasks for the Kanon School. He kept a diary for 36 years, starting from the day before he first went into service at Edo Castle until the day before he died. The diary is entitles "Official Service Diary" (it consists of 52 volumes that are maintained at the Tokyo National Museum, and 4 volumes that are separately maintained at the different families), and have become the focus of a lot of attention in recent years for the detailed information they present on the daily life and work of a prestigious official painter. The reading of the characters of his name was originally "Takenobu"; however, with the birth of the first son of the Shongun Ieyoshi TOKUGAWA in 1813, whose name was Takechiyo, having a sylable with the same pronunciation of "Take"was deemed to be inappropriate, and was therefore changed to "Osanobu". Because Takenobu died the following year, after which he was referred to as Gyokujuin, Osanobu changed his pen name Gyokusen he had used until that point to Seisenin, in order to avoid using the same Chinese charcter pronounced alike. In 1819, he attained the second highest rank for a Buddhist priest, Hogen, and assumed the role of head of the family after his father passed away in 1828. In 1834 he attained the highest rank for a Buddhist priest, Hoin. He oversaw the rennovation of the wall paintings of Nishinomaru Palace of Edo Castle from 1838 to 1839, and Honmaru Palace of it from 1844 to 1846. It is thought that Osanobu later died due to the fatigue endured in his endless exertions moving steadily from one project to another, in addition to his weak constitution.

His passion for copying. Osanobu had a zeal for copying scrolls, and continually devoting a lot of energy to that. The Tokyo national Museum alone holds copies of 150 picture scrolls and 500 paintings by Osanobu in its collection. He faithfully reproduced details such as damage to the original scrolls due to peeling, insects and the like, and would redo a copy if he later found a better specimen or the like. Osanobu's interests were diverse, and his active pursuit of learning can be seen in his six scrolls on the furnishings Gakuryo, Bugaku (court dance and music) masks, and costumes at the Treasure House of the Koyasan, as well as the fact that he even drew the paper mountings and tears of hanging scrolls when he copied them. As is demonstrated by the high number of 150 scrolls, and can be seen in particular in the many extant masterful copies he made of ancient scrolls, Osanobu left a lot of legends behind. Osanobu would borrow originals or copies from the storehouse of the Shogunate families, of course, as well as from the Shirakawa Bunko library of Sadanobu MATSUDAIRA, and those of the SUMISYOSHI family and others, make copies, and if there was a Dekaicho (exhibiting a Buddhist image) at a temple in Kyoto he would set out for Kyoto to draw it. In addition, because he was not able to leave his official duties in Edo, he would dispatch his apprentices to Kyoto and Nara to copy works, and had received permission from the jisha-bugyo (magistrate of temples and shrines) enabling him to continually borrow treasured works from temples and shrines so he could make copies. His zeal was such that it did not fade throughout his lifetime, as can be seen from the fact that up till twelve days before he passed away he was engaged in copying the Moko Shurai Ekotoba, which was then in the possession of the Hosokawa family. He first tried his hand at copying at the age of eleven, and is thought to have been undertaken under the instruction of his father, Naganobu.

Among those early works are copies made of the Fusuma kinpeki-shohekiga (paintings on gold foil-pressed paper sliding doors and screens) of the Nishinomaru Palace and the Honmaru Palace of Edo-jo Castle and the like, including works that are no longer extant, or of which the whereabouts are unknown, making them extremely valuable sources to researchers. Osanobu further advanced the study of ancient paintings succeeded for generations in the Kobikicho house since Michinobu KANO, and completely mastered and incorporated the techniques of Yamato-e painting (a traditional Japanese style painting of the late Heian and Kamakura periods dealing with Japanese themes) into his painting style. This was an important achievement of the sublime works of Osanobu, who contrasted the differences between Chinese style painting and Yamato-e painting, which was the aim of the founder of the Edo Kano school of painting, Tanyu KANO, as well as the project of the Kano school since the time of Motonobu KANO.

When the grave of Osanobu was moved in 2003, his bones were exhumed and his skull and face were reconstructed. It is thought, based on his oval shaped, graceful face, that Osanobu was a fastidious individual with a somewhat weak digestive tract. The reconstructed model is maintained by the Ikegami Honmon-ji Temple.

Representative works
Genji Monogatari-zu Byobu (folding screen with scenes from The Tale of Genji) (Wakana・Momiji-no-ga) (Honen-ji Temple, Kagawa) A pair of eight folding screens, Important Cultural Property
Folding screens of Takagari-zu (drawing of hawk hunting) (Itabashi Art Museum) A pair of two folding screens
Folding screens of Gunka-Guncho-zu (drawing of deers and cranes) (Itabashi Art Museum) A pair of six folding screens
Genji Monogatari Ne-no-zu Byobu (folding screen with scenes from The Tale of Genji) (Toyama Memorial Hall) A pair of eight folding screens
Folding screens with paintings of scenes from the Tale of Genji and autumn foiliage (Hayashibara Museum of Art)
Kocho-funaasobi-no-zu (drawing of Kocho playing with boat) (the Eisei-Bunko Museum)
Shunshu Koin-zu (drawing of Spring and Autumn Koin) (the Eisei-Bunko Museum) a pair of hanging scrolls
Shiki Kosaku-zu, a painting of cultivation in four seasons (Suntory Museum)
Seiobo (Chinese Goddees)/dragon painting (Tokushima-jo Castle Museum) set of three hanging scrolls
Roryu, Oryu, Koyoryu (wave dragon, cherry blossom dragon, red leaves dragon) (Kyoto National Museum) set of three hanging scrolls
Rokaku Sansui-zu (Shimonoseki City Museum)
Painting of Sadanobu MATSUDAIRA (Fukushima Prefectural Museum)