Hello JapanLovers! For today’s trivia, let’s talk about “Japanese Calligraphy”. Have you guys tried this before? ^^
Calligraphy (shodo: “the way of writing”) is the art of writing beautifully. Most children learn calligraphy in elementary school. It is a popular hobby among adults, too.
[A calligraphy set consists of:]
Shitajiki: Black, soft mat. It provides a comfortable, soft surface.
Bunchin: Metal stick to weight down the paper during writing.
Hanshi: Special, thin calligraphy paper.
Fude: Brush. There is a larger brush for writing the main characters and a smaller one for writing the artist’s name. The small brush, however, can be used for the characters, too.
Suzuri: Heavy black container for the ink.
Sumi: Solid black material that must be rubbed in water in the suzuri to produce the black ink which is then used for writing. Of course, “instant ink” in bottles is also available.
[Connection to Zen Buddhism]
Japanese calligraphy was influenced by “Zen”. For any particular piece of paper, the calligrapher has but one chance to create with the brush. The brush strokes cannot be corrected, and even a lack of confidence shows up in the work. The calligrapher must concentrate and be fluid in execution. The brush writes a statement about the calligrapher at a moment in time (“Hitsuzendo”, the Zen way of the brush). Through Zen, Japanese calligraphy absorbed a distinct Japanese aesthetic often symbolised by the ensō or circle of enlightenment.