Whether you’re a decorator looking for inspiration or a follower of Zen who collects Japanese prints, Japanese calligraphy might be a major design element in your home. This is especially true with young couples and individuals who have more time to update their living spaces. Each Japanese symbol used in Calligraphy prints can be executed in eight strokes or less, and are typically written by professional calligraphers, but it’s also a popular artistic endeavor.
While today’s calligraphy is generally known to be Japanese, it originated in China back in the 28th century, B.C. This was a time when pictographs were inscribed on bone for religious purposes. The state, led by Prime Minister Li Si of the Qin dynasty, needed a form of uniform script with a standardized way of writing. He approved a form of script that would fit into squares and devised rules of composition where the horizontal lines would be written first, and characters arranged from top to bottom, left to right. Originally the lines in calligraphy were angular because they were made with sharp instruments, but the art of calligraphy gradually evolved into a wet ink-brush technique because this gave calligraphy an element of style.
Zen thought and Japanese calligraphy
Japanese calligraphy has always been influenced by Zen thought, in that the artist has but one chance to create with the brush and it cannot be corrected. This requires concentration and confidence in order to achieve fluid execution, as the brush strokes represent a moment in time. With Japanese calligraphy, the art is more about the artist’s absorption in the Zen experience than it is about the craft of the lettering itself. In order to write Zen calligraphy like a master one must clear one’s mind and simply let the letters flow out. According to Japanese philosopher Nishada Kitaro, this “no mind state” is based on the principles of spiritual connection rather than the physical realm.
Decorator Japanese Calligraphy
Here are a few decorative items that may be of interest to someone who enjoys the art of calligraphy:
Silk Scroll – Double Happiness: An elegant calligraphy scroll depicts the symbol “Double Happiness” which is translated as “Happiness fills the house and great fortune equals the heavens.” Expertly hand painted by a skilled artisan, the scroll has a white silk brocade border and is finished with wooden dowels. It measures 39 1/2″ long and 9 1/2″ wide and promises to be the perfect finishing touch to any room.
Calligraphy Print – Serenity: The contemporary styling of the “Serenity” calligraphy print offers a fresh take on a classic art form. Beautifully reproduced from the hand painted silk original, the calligraphy symbol for “Serenity” is highlighted on a lavender background and finished with a high quality black wooden frame beneath a silk textured mat. The art is ready to be hung and includes an easel stand on the back.
Paper Lanterns-Wealth Light String – It’s time to party with these classical Japanese lanterns! Light up your outdoor space or sunroom for a special occasion, wedding reception or just a backyard summer garden party. This round white lantern string has a striking calligraphy symbol for “wealth” on each one. The set includes 10 paper lanterns that measure 4″ in diameter.
Slate and Patina Metal Calligraphy Wall Art – Simplicity: Rich in texture and classic detail, each handcrafted slate calligraphy wall hanging is made of natural ebony slate stone and hand etched with the calligraphy symbol for Simplicity. To achieve a natural weathered look, the metal has a hand-painted patina that surrounds the slate calligraphy, creating a bold contrast that is the perfect finishing touch for any room. The stone is quarried from the earth and no artificial resins are used allowing the natural color and texture variations to create a one of a kind piece of art.
Kozo Calligraphy Paper Roll – Japanese rice papers are made with the extraordinarily long fibers from the Kozo (mulberry) bush making them very strong and absorbent that stands up to many art techniques. Plain kozo paper is often used in monument rubbing, stenciling, dyeing, framing, book binding as well as sumi-e drawing, painting and brush calligraphy. The roll makes a large variety of painting sizes possible from square to the traditional long narrow scroll composition. This roll of Japanese rice paper is ideal for Sumi-e calligraphy works of art and also for repair of a damaged panel on a shoji screen or for designing your custom shoji screen.