The sacrosanct painting atelier of Kan’eiji was headed throughout the Edo period by successive generations of the holder of the name Kanda Sōtei. Despite its special mandate, it has remained largely disregarded to this day, partly due to its alleged artistic conservatism and the limited number of recognized works. Given that the atelier was affiliated with Kan’eiji, the most powerful Tendai temple during the Edo period and one of the primary temples of the Tokugawa shogunate, a consideration of the religious, and most certainly political, implications behind its establishment is urgently needed. There is evidence that the scope of production and sphere of influence of the Kanda Sōtei lineage by far exceeded what has been previously assumed. Based on newly discovered materials, this article discusses the lineage’s conservatism and classicism in relation to the deification strategy of the Tokugawa shogunate, their consolidation of power based on the introduction of a new school of Shinto and the new deity Tōshō Daigongen, and its influence on the religious visual culture of the Edo period following the financial distress of the regime during the late seventeenth century.