Kudara no Kawanari (百済河成)

KUDARA no Kawanari (782-September 30, 853) was a painter in the early Heian period. His original surname was Aguri. He was a descendant of the Paekche people.


He is said to have been skilled in martial arts and frequently drew a strong bow. In Daido era, he became a Sakone (Left Division of Inner Palace Guards) and, due to his excellence in painting, he was called to the Court, where he is said to have exhibited his prowess. Natural scenes he depicted were refined and lifelike. There's an anecdote about him to the effect that when he was in the Court and tried to send for his follower who was outside the Court, nobody could recognize him, so Kawanari took the follower's likeness, which made it possible to bring him in quickly. In 823, he was appointed Mimasaka no gon no shosakan (deputy lesser officer of Mimasaka Province) and raised to Ge-jugoinoge (Jugoinoge (Junior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade) given to persons outside Kyoto). In the Showa era, he was appointed the Assistant Governor of Harima Province and Bicchu Province, granted the kabane of 'Kudara ason,' promoted to Jugoinoge and appointed Aki no kuni no suke (Assistant Governor of Aki Province). Although he is the first painter whose name remains today and is full of legend, none of his paintings remain.

[Original Japanese]