Forgers in the art world have always been given a bad time. We criticize them, punish, and throw vegetable peels at them. However, the Japanese have taken it in a very different angle. During the 18th century when Japan’s artistic movement was slowly moving away from the Kano school centered tradition ( almost like a break up near the end of a date) forgers gained some prominence within society at the time.
Take the case of a man named Bessho Kingoro who was skilled as a painter that his copies of Maruyama Okyo, the famous master and founder of the Maruyama school had fooled the Man who held the post who oversaw the city of Kyoto for the shogunate by saying the he remembered doing the painting the man owned.
Case 2 was of a man who called himself Sengai while the real Sengai ( full name Sengai Gibon) was still active. The real Sengai took efforts to find the fake Sengai and gave the faker his seal and just wished him luck.
The final case ( there are still more and more but three humourous ones should be fine) was Tani Buncho when clients of his complained about other artists producing pseudo Bunchos, Tani Buncho only responded that if has a signature of Buncho then it must be a Buncho. Nothing further is mentioned whether clients had pressed further for Buncho to inscribe the box paintings were stored in…
The world of Japanese art can be serious and problematic, but yet retains its humor on the twist and turns people take and do since the eighteenth century or earlier.