Of all Japanese art forms, paintings are one of their oldest. They date as far back prehistoric 570 period although not much information can be found on this refined art form. Throughout the timeline of Japanese paintings, you see a simplistic, neat, and highly gracious definition in the strokes. Much of the early paintings are inspired by the Chinese and Korean influence. They like using bold colors with gold and silver accents.
If you will notice there is a preference for water color with Japanese paintings, especially with the traditional painters. They use different forms in painting like scrolls, on screens and panels, and in murals. Not a single Japanese home today is devoid of any kind of Japanese painting. It is very important to them especially since they are basically minimalists in their interior designs.
The early Japanese paintings were inspired by their religion. With the influence and inspiration from the Chinese, women soon began to appear in their paintings, usually sitting under trees.
It was during the Fujiwara Period that flowers began to be part of Japanese art in paintings. This was a period of much emphasis on romance and more sophistication. It was also when more art schools began to open because many of the top Japanese aristocratic families began to show interest in learning how to paint. There is also a significant amount if humor in the painting of this era.
Japanese belief in painting flowers and landscape was a part of the Zen aspect of Buddhism. They were painted to provide Japanese with a means to connect to their spiritual truth. Zen is all about self-knowledge and self-realization. Paintings were thought to enhance the mood and spirit of person so that medication comes more effortlessly.
The role then of Japanese paintings in this very special culture is much more than to be simply decorative.