Calligraphy is an art of infinite depth and subtlety which has held the Eastern imagination captive for centuries. It is as simple in its materials and form as it is complex in its myriad expressions.
In this book the author looks at the special nature of the calligraphic line and space. Based both on her study of the art under the master calligrapher Seika Kawabe and her own research, the author presents both a theoretical and practical approach.
The beautiful calligraphy is by Seika Kawabe with a few examples by his masters, and makes the book a pleasure visually.
About the authors:
Christine Flint Sato is a British artist living just outside Kyoto in West Japan. Between 1982 and 1992 she studied Japanese calligraphy under Seika Kawabe. She attained assistant teacher rank in 1990. Although she no longer practices, she still finds the calligraphic training of hand, heart and eye invaluable.
Seika Kawabe is a master calligrapher and one of the leaders of the Japanese avant-garde calligraphic schools. He is a juror of the Mainichi Calligraphy Organization. He exhibits frequently in Japan and also shows abroad. The calligraphy in this book is his and includes model practice sheets as well as finished pieces. There is also some work by his master Uno Sesson, and Ueda Sokyu, his masters master. Both these men were prominent leaders in the world of calligraphy this century.
The introduction to the book by the author:
The two formal elements in calligraphic art are the black line and the white space. The black of the line is Chinese ink, sumi, and the white space the highly absorbent Chinese, Japanese or Korean paper on which the calligraphy is written. Out of these basic elements, both formal and material, is created an art of infinite depth and subtlety which has held the Eastern imagination captive for centuries. It is probably its very simplicity which is part of its charm. It is a simplicity which has given birth to a plethora of expressive line. There are as many lines as there are calligraphers who write. The scripts have certain conventions that should be followed, but the lines themselves are unique to the person writing them.
The line is a sensitive dynamic, an energetic expression which is complemented and, in a certain sense, defined by the white space through which it runs. The relationship of line and space is as intimate as form and space in sculpture, the spaces between dancers and their gestures in ballet or the silences in a stream of music. The space is an almost palpable presence, interacting positively with the line and contributing its own beauty to the piece. This awareness of space within the Japanese art of calligraphy is, I feel, particularly acute and articulated.
In this book, I deliberately concentrate on these two basic elements, the line and space, to grasp the essence of the art as securely as possible. It means that I do not examine the Chinese characters and hiragana (the Japanese phonetic script) themselves. This may imply that the analysis of script forms and their historical development is unimportant to calligraphers which would be misleading. Much of their time is spent tracing and studying variations of script forms and developing an individual style. It also means that I do not discuss the literal content of calligraphic pieces as I am focusing on the structure of the art. Materials and techniques are introduced insofar as they are relevant to this. I do not give a general introduction to their use.
This beautifully produced book provides some interesting insight to the world of Japanese calligraphy. With over 70 illustrations and artwork from some of Japanís calligraphic masters, this is a book worth having if you want to understand more about Japanese Calligraphy.
1st edition, 1999, hardback, 104 pages, very well illustrated, monochrome throughout, 22.8 x 26.6 cm