Monday, February 16, 2009

The Art of the Japanese Calligraphy- a short introduction

The japanese calligraphy is a combination of a person's skill and imagination and requires compelling knowledge of various mixes of lines and strokes. It is, by definition, a very personal occupation, the styles varying from one calligraph to another.

Known by the japanese term of shodou it is perceived as a form of traditional art, mainly due to the fact that every character has a meaning of its own. Maybe for an untrained eye they are all the same, but a profesional japanese calligraph can easily distinguish between a good and a mediocre work. It is all about knowledge and inner flair.
There are no standard rules for shodou, but we can outline a few guidelines for judging it: the balance between each written character and the composition as a whole; strait lines have to be strong and well defined; the curved ones should be delicate and sharpe; another criterion is the quantity of ink used; most importantly, a proper shodou work should have an inner rithm and vitality.

The art of calligraphy originated in India and China; it was introduced in Japan in VI-VIII centuries( when it already was an established tradition in China), alongside the chinese writing system, known as Kanji. The priests and monks were among the first to practice this ancient art, the most famous of them being the buddhist monk Kukai. The japanese calligraphy meet a real boom in the X-XI centuries, when three practicians of this noble art- Ono no Tofu, Fujiwara and Yukinari- developed the first japanese writing technique, namely mayou. This process continued throught the centuries and reached its finest expression after the first World War, embodied in the zen-ei sho style. The japanese calligraphy exerted a tremendous influence on the Western art, if we only consider two great masters: Matisse and Picasso.

No comments:

Post a Comment