Japanese painting, or nihonga, developed under the influence of techniques brought from China. From the Nara period (710-784) to the Heian period (794-1185), however, a uniquely Japanese-style painting gradually began to appear and was established as classical Japanese painting. In the Kamakura period (1185-1333), ink painting was introduced, again from China, and perfected in the Muromachi period (1333-1573). In the Edo period (1600-1868), ukiyo-e, "Pictures of the Floating World", flourished.
Generally, nihonga refers to paintings done with animal hair brushes in ink or natural mineral pigments on silk or japanese paper (washi). These materials greatly influenced the results. Since there was no way to correct or repaint an unsatisfactory area, artists had to envision the entire painting in their minds before they began. Consequently, the qualities of nihonga feel fresh, lively, and spontaneous.