Takanobu was born in Kyoto, and was the half-brother of Fujiwara Sadaie, one of Japan’s greatest poets. Takanobu specialized in nise-e (“likeness picture”) portraits, except instead of painting on small-size paper Takanobu painted on scrolls over a meter in height and width. Only three of his works have survived, the most notable is of Minamoto Yoritomo, the founder of the Kamakura government. Takanobu's son Nobuzane carried on the family tradition of painting.
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