We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.

The 1500s were a time of ruinous wars in Japan. The 1600s? A time of artistic renewal. In Kyoto, two merchants began to work in a style that recalled Japan’s earlier Heian period, using bold colors and glittering gold and silver pigments in a modernized twist to produce decorated scrolls, textiles, lacquerware, and ceramics. The painter Tawaraya Sōtatsu and his atelier created landscapes using techniques like tarashikomi (“dropping in”), putting paint to still-wet surfaces to create ripples and pools. Hon’ami Kōetsu, a master calligrapher, would pen his characters over Sōtatsu’s painting in a pairing now held up as one of the most important artistic collaborations in Japanese history. Later artists would study their work, continuing the style that became known as Rinpa, which crossed the world and influenced French artists like Gauguin and Van Gogh. Thirty-seven objects created by the original masters and their later disciples are now on display at the Freer Gallery. Come October, the Sackler hosts its own Sōtatsu exhibit, the first major retrospective on the artist in the Western Hemisphere, so start studying your glossary of Japanese art terms now. The exhibition is on view daily 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., to Jan. 3, at the Freer Gallery of Art, Jefferson Drive and 12th Street SW. Free. (202) 633-4880. asia.si.edu.