Zen Brushwork: Focusing the Mind with Calligraphy and Paintingby Tanchu Terayama
Pub. Date: 01/09/2004
Publisher: Kodansha USA
With its bold strokes and mystic aura, Zen calligraphy has fascinated Westerners for decades, yet it remains an abstract, rarely practiced form of expression outside of Asia. Now, master calligrapher Tanchu Terayama explains the techniques behind this subtle art and offers step-by-step instructions for practicing it on a professional level.
After introducing the basics, Terayama presents a unique meditative warm-up to establish the proper mental attitude needed to release one's creative energies. Next, the power of the brushed line is explained and demonstrated. What makes a good line or a bad one, an expressive effort or an unfocused one? Lessons on brushing symbolic Japanese characters follow, including those for "emptiness," "nothingness," and "flower." The painting section shows readers how to draw the spare yet elegant pictorial themes of this classic art: bamboo, plum blossoms, Mount Fuji, and the inspirational Zen priest Daruma.
If the exercises are the heart of the book, the Appreciation section is the soul. This chapter introduces classic works from renowned priests and other historical figures, including Miyamoto Musashi (the celebrated swordsman and author of The Book of Five Rings), Morihei Ueshiba (the founder of aikido), Jigoro Kano (the father of judo), and Zen priest Hakuin. Each masterpiece is accompanied by penetrating commentary on the strengths and salient features of the work.
Rarely has Zen calligraphy been demonstrated and discussed with such candor and insight. Illuminating yet another side of Zen, Zen Brushwork will be an invaluable source to those interested in meditation, Zen, Buddhism, the martial arts, and Oriental traditions in general.
About the Authors:
Tanchu Terayama is a professor at Nishogakusha University and the co-author of Zen and the Art of Calligraphy. His collection of historic calligraphy was the subject of an exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.
Thomas F. Judge is a Japanese-English translator now based in the San Francisco area. He has lived in Kanazawa, Osaka, and Tokyo, where he pursued his interest in Japanese crafts. He is the author of Edo Craftsmen: Master Artisans of Old Tokyo, a look at living craftspeople working in traditional crafts.
John Stevens is Professor of Buddhist Studies, as well as Aikido Instructor, at Tohoku Fukushi University in Sendai, Japan. He has been associated with Tanchu Terayama for nearly thirty years and has written a biography of Yamaoka Tesshu, The Sword of No-Sword, as well as many other books on various aspects of Asian culture.
- Kodansha USA
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 11.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.50(d)
Table of ContentsIntroduction
Part I Background
What is Zen Calligraphy?
The Evolution of Kanji
The Fundamentals of Calligraphy
The Four Treasures of Calligraphy
Part II Preparationo (Calligraphy) and Practice Lines
Sosho (Grass Script)
exercise 7: Mu (Nothing)
exercise 8: Hana (Flower)
exercise 9: Ku (Emptiness)
exercise 10: Mu Ichi Motsu (Owning No-thing)
exercise 11: Ichigyo Zanmai (Be in the Moment)
Writing Western Script
exercise 12: Writing Western Script: ABC
exercise 13: Shodo (Calligraphy)
exercise 14: Orchid
exercise 15: Bamboo
exercise 16: Plum Blossoms (with inscription)
exercise 17: Mount Fuji
exercise 18: Daruma
exercise 19: Wall-Gazing Daruma
exercise 20: "One-Stroke" Daruma
exercise 21: Ji-Wa-Choku (Compassion, Harmony, Honesty)
Part IV Appreciation
Works by Old Masters
Works by Terayama Tanchu
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Clear Look at the Zen Art of Calligraphy I have reviewed dozens of texts concerning the art of Shodo, but this one really stands out as exceptional. I'm familiar with the work of one of its translators, zen master John Stevens, who also wrote Sacred Calligraphy of the East. What's really interesting about this book is how you can really see the variety in approaches to the same form of even the same subject. There is a great page that shows the same character done by the same artist but at three different ages. Because of the simplicity of the art form you can see how styles differ and/or progress and reflect the state of the practitioner.