The Guardians of Edo Avant-Garde explores the pivotal role Japanese artists of the Edo era (1603 – 1868) played in setting the stage for the “modern art” movement in the West. During the Edo era, while a pacified Japan isolated itself from the world, audacious Japanese artists innovated stylization, abstraction, minimalism, surrealism, geometric composition and the illusion of 3-D. Their elegant originality is most striking in images of the natural world depicted on folding screens and scrolls by Sotatsu, Jakuchu, Tohaku, Korin, Okyo, Rosetsu and many others who left their art unsigned. 

To capture the dynamism, scale and meticulous details of the art, Japan's master cinematographer is working with Sony's cutting-edge 4K camera, filming works in museums, temples and private collections, along with the bamboo groves, misted valleys and churning waves that inspired the artists centuries ago. Curators, restorers, collectors and scholars are providing insights into the genesis of their prescient vision.