Zen Calligraphy. ‘true creativity is not the product of conscious effort but the phenomenon of life itself.’ Nishida Kitarō (1870–1945). What is Zen Calligraphy?.
‘true creativity is not the product of conscious effort but the phenomenon of life itself.’
Nishida Kitarō (1870–1945)
ko no ha tree leaves
In Japan, the most common form of brushwork for calligraphers in general, and Zen artists in particular, is ichigyo sho, "one-line calligraphies." These are poetic phrases or Zen sayings, usually consisting of five to seven characters, written vertically on a hanging scroll.
In the case of calligraphy with many characters, Obaku Zen calligraphers enjoyed brushing original poems in classical Chinese, while Rinzai and Soto Zen artists more typically quoted from the sutras or sayings of a master. In Zen art, haiku are often used as inscriptions on paintings but rarely as just calligraphy alone.
Even for experts, Zen calligraphy is often hard to decipher, but the vitality and dynamic flow of brush strokes created by a Zen master can be impressive, inspiring, and appealing even if the characters cannot be read at first.What characters are used in Zen Calligraphy?
The example on the left hand side is from before he reached enlightenment and the example on the right is from his post-enlightenment period of painting.
Massive in size and scale of conception, the two characters on the right almost explode from the paper on which they are written. The brush strokes of the signature are vibrant and powerful, demonstrating the newly enlightened mind of Tesshu, the painter.The effects of enlightenment on calligraphy
Terayama Tanchū drawing
a mujibō (Zen line)
This calligraphy means:
‘FLOWERLike a FLOWERBLOOMAll people of the world!’
It was originally be the Zen painter Soen .