Project choice: Calligraphy
書道 (shodo) is a type of traditional Japanese calligraphy that dates back to twenty-eighth century B.C, where it descended from Chinese roots. Originally, pictographs inscribed on bones used primarily for religious purposes, and eventually these pictographs evolved into what become the standard for a uniform script, or the Chinese language. Since the pictographs were originally created using sharp instruments, the ink and brush created a much different appearance and allowed for variation of thickness, as well as line. With the use of the ink and brush compared to that of other materials, the writer is still able to retain a somewhat block form, but is able to create characters that emphasize aesthetically pleasing balance and form. In addition, calligraphy also goes in hand with Zen Buddhism and was often influenced by Zen thought, which stresses the ideology of the spiritual over the physical.
Calligraphy throughout Japanese history majorly influenced written works such as poetry, manuscripts, and even artwork. One of the most influential pieces of literature that incorporates the usage of calligraphy during the early Heian period was the Gakki-ron, written by Empress Komyo in 744 and is regarded as the most important copy of Wang Xizhi’s calligraphy. Calligraphy in modern Japan today is mainly purposed as an elementary school subject in the Japanese mandatory educational system. In high schools, calligraphy is offered as a choice amongst art subjects and is also a highly popular club activity.
For my project I chose to recreate this character in the style of shodo calligraphy; dream.
I plan to try and replicate this character through the use of traditional tools, such as ink and scroll-like paper to achieve a more “authentic” look for my project.
Using watercolor gauche and the closest brush to a bamboo brush I could find, I recreated the character in a calligraphic manner while paying attention to stroke order.