This page was created by Magdalena Kolodziej. 

Bodies and Structures 2.0: Deep-Mapping Modern East Asian History


Tōyōga (tongyanghwa in Korean, dongyanghua in Chinese) is translated into English as "Oriental-style painting." It refers to paintings with ink and mineral pigments on silk or paper.

The term tōyōga appeared in publications in Japan in the second half of the nineteenth century to compare and distinguish East Asian painting from oil painting, which became known as seiyōga. Tōyōga came into wider use in colonial Korea and Taiwan after the establishment of the Korea Fine Arts Exhibition in 1922 and the Taiwan Fine Arts Exhibition in 1927, respectively. Each of these salons for contemporary art featured two divisions for painting, one for tōyōga and one for seiyōga (initially, the Korea Fine Arts Exhibition had also a third division for calligraphy. In 1932 it was abolished and replaced with crafts division). In this way, tōyōga was the equivalent of the metropolitan nihonga division in the colonies. In certain contexts, artists and critics used the term nihonga as a synonym to tōyōga.

The word tōyō means "the Orient." The name tōyōga suggests incorporation of East Asian painting styles. However, few literati paintings made it into the exhibition. In practice the tōyōga works at the Taiwan Fine Arts Exhibitions showed close stylistic resemblance to nihonga. Guo Xuehu's "Scenery Near Yuanshan", which received a special award at the second Taiwan Fine Arts Exhibition, exemplifies this issue well. See discussion of Guo Xuehu's art to better understand the relationship of nihonga and tōyōga.

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