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A contemporary of Harunobu and Koryusai, Buncho (文調, 1763 - 1840) belonged to the samurai class before turning to a life of painting and printmaking. The son of Tani Rokkoku, a well-known poet and a vassal of Lord Tayasu, Buncho’s grandfather was the the eighth Tokugawa shogun. Buncho first studied Kano painting, and then nanga style before studying other types of painting including Tosa, ukiyo-e, Western-style, and Chinese-style.
While clearly influenced by Harunobu’s ethereal beauties, Buncho struck a unique balance of idealism and realism in his prints of bijin (beautiful women). He was also known for his dramatic actor prints. In 1770, Buncho collaborated with Shunsho to complete Picture Book of Stage Fans, a three volume illustrated book set presenting stage celebrities of the day. This collection of actor portraiture is a pivotal book in the history of ukiyo-e.