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Norihisa Mizuta

[Bussai; Dokusō; Gakusen; Hanbutsu koji; Kyūsui Gyojin; Mandarakyo]

(b Kyoto, 1738; d Osaka, 1797).

Japanese seal-carver, poet and editor. Afflicted by poverty in Kyoto, he moved to Osaka, where he studied Confucianism and Chinese literature with Katayama Hokkai (1723–90) and Hosoai Hansai (1727–1803) and joined the society of Chinese poetry, the Kontonshisha. He learnt seal-carving from Kō Fuyō and was so successful in absorbing the characteristics of the Archaic school that he was known as ‘Fuyō’s shadow’. Together with Maegawa Kyoshū and Katsu Shikin, he was an important advocate of the Archaic school in the Naniwa (now Osaka) area (see Japan §XVII 20.).

Albums of seals he carved include the Rekiken sanbō inpu, Dokusōan in’in and the Gakusen in’in. Shii also researched the background to seal scholarship and wrote the works Insekikō (‘Thoughts on borrowed seals’) and Ingosan (‘Outline of seal terms’). The Insekikō, published posthumously in 1802, is a catalogue raisonné of Japanese and Chinese seal albums introduced to Japan at that time. It also assesses the state and level of seal scholarship. No such catalogue had hitherto been compiled, even in China, and it was highly praised. The ...