Zeshin, Shibata

Shibata Zeshin (柴田 是真, March 15, 1807 – July 13, 1891) was a Japanese artist known for his innovative approach to traditional Japanese painting techniques. Born in Edo (modern-day Tokyo), Zeshin studied under the painter Suzuki Nanrei, who introduced him to the traditional Japanese painting style of ukiyo-e. Zeshin also studied under the artist Kikuchi Yosai, who had a significant influence on his artistic style.

Zeshin’s paintings were characterized by their bold, dynamic brushstrokes and his use of vivid colors and gold leaf. He was known for his use of innovative techniques, such as incorporating metallic pigments and applying layers of lacquer to create a sense of depth and texture in his works.

Zeshin’s innovative approach to painting earned him widespread recognition in Japan and abroad. His works were exhibited in numerous exhibitions and were highly sought after by collectors. He was also commissioned to create works for the Japanese imperial court and for prominent figures in Japanese society.

In addition to his painting, Zeshin was also a skilled lacquer artist, calligrapher, and designer. He designed numerous everyday objects, such as lacquerware, fans, and screens, which were highly regarded for their intricate and beautiful designs.

Zeshin’s contributions to the art world were widely recognized during his lifetime. He was awarded numerous prizes and honors, including the Order of the Rising Sun, one of Japan’s highest civilian honors. Today, his works are held in collections around the world, including the Tokyo National Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.


  • “Shibata Zeshin: Masterpieces of Japanese Painting” by Tadashi Kobayashi, Kodansha International (1983)
  • “Shibata Zeshin: The Classic of Change” by Tsugiyoshi Doi, Shibunkaku Publishing (1982)
  • “Japanese Painting: A Concise History” by Gregory Irvine, Thames & Hudson (2008)