The Japanese view of nature is also reflected in their landscape paintings. The sky, mountains, lakes, click here to view in a larger formatwaterfalls, rocks, and trees are proportionally much larger than human figures. While the Western landscape paintings mostly show human figures as larger than the landscape and its elements.

Buddhism was introduced in Japan in 552, 594, with Prince Shotoku, as one of the critical figures in the expansion of Buddhism in Japan. Buddhism's presence from the sixth century on played two major roles in development of Japanese art and beauty. Buddhism provided a world view and the philosophical basis for arts and architecture. Second, it offered the basic blue print for new art forms needed in their religious rituals.

By the twelfth century, Zen was introduced in Japan by the monk Eisai and others in the form of Tendai teaching. The Kamakura period (1185-1392) marked an impact on Japanese architecture and philosophy. In addition to the cult of the samurai, Zen Buddhism and its architecture had a great influence on Japan. By the fourteenth century, the sect was firmly and widely accepted, especially by the samurai (the military class).

click here to enlargeAfter the Muromachi period, Chinese paintings were brought from Song China during the Kamakura period creating a great wave of influence on Japanese painting techniques. In the early years of the Moromachi period, most Japanese paintings were the result of copying from famous Chinese landscapes. The paintings were made during the Song and Yuan dynasties, with portrait figures that related to Chinese Taoism and Buddhism.

Many Zen monks began to establish themselves as painters. Among these were Kichizan Mincho, his works began in monochrome and colored paintings. The popular painting style during this time was of Chinese verses composed at Zen monasteries, in which ink paintings in combination with poems by Zen monks called Shigajiku Scrolls. An example of these was the hanging scroll Catching a Catfish with a Gourd, done by Josetsu, a Zen monk.