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Art of calligraphy

About art of calligraphy

Japanese characters are based on "kanji" characters introduced from China around the 5th century.
These characters has been written with ink-filled brush since then.
Of course, these are common to not only Japan but also China and Korea which use kanji characters.

To write characters is for practical use, but to write beautifully also has developed.
It is the art of calligraphy.

The works have various style.
The characters are basically wriiten vertically.
Some works are written many characters in a sheet, but some works are written only one character.
Some works are written in standard style of character, but some works are written in cursive style.
We can find some modern works like abstract picture

Tools for calligraphy

  • Inkstone : It's a black stone on which sumi-ink is made, and is called "suzuri# in Japanese.
    Most inkstones have a flat surface and a dent on the edge.
    A little water is put into the dent, and sumi-ink are made by grinding an sumi (ink-cake) on the flat surface.
  • Sumi (Ink-cake) : Sumi makes black ink on a inkstone. Sumi is like a very solid crayon, and it is produced by solidifying soot with glue.
  • Ink brush : It's a brush to write characters. It has mostly tapered brush.
    In Japanese, it is called "fude".

Seeing art of calligraphy

An exhibition of calligraphyIn main museums of art we can find few works of calligraphy.
Instead we can find old works in many museums of history.
Usually modern works are sometimes exhibited for a limited time only in several galleries.

Calligraphy in daily life of the Japanese people

We Japanese learn and exercise the calligraphy at the second half of elementary school and junior high school.
But not all pupils can write beautifully.

Usually we are enough to write with pencil, mechanical pencil or ballpoint pen.
But when we attend a wedding or funarel, we write our name with sumi-ink on the envelope filled with contribution or condolence money out of politeness.
Some people write a letter with sumi-ink.

Of course, several people use the sumi-ink made on an inkstone.
Recently covenient "Fudepen" also are widely used. "Fude" means "brush".
It is an ink brush containing sumi-ink, and we can always write like ballpoint pen.

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