The Art Of Shodu Calligraphy
Delicate and undoubtedly serene. The art of Shodu calligraphy embraces a freehand art style that is deeply centered around discipline. Each movement is made with purpose, leaving little doubt of the ink and its relationship with paper. It is an art reserved only for those with an iron clad confidence, any missteps are easy to detect and warrant a clean slate. A degree of strength is a must, to hone in on precision and to make way for consistency.
This iconic writing style travelled from China to Japan in 600 AD. Through the years, calligraphers have developed a distinctive style that has evolved through the periods of Japanese history. It is known that this art form has been heavily influenced by Zan Buddhism. Monks themselves practice this ancient art, first they must clear their minds and allow the words to flow through them in order to make a true piece of Shodu calligraphy. Practicing such a medium is said to be a wholly spiritual experience.
The most four basic tools needed to practice are:
- A brush
- An ink stick
- An ink stone
- Mulberry paper
A paper weight is often used in order to hold the sheet of paper in place when drawing. To prepare, the calligrapher must pour water onto the ink stone, then use the ink stick to grind away the dried substance to form the ink itself. Now a days, ink can be found in bottles, however this traditional technique provides some authenticity to the artist despite it being time consuming. Paper must be place on a large flat surface, either a table or floor is suitable. Brushes vary from calligrapher to calligrapher, some prefer a handle made from wood whilst others prefer bamboo. The brush itself is typically made from animal hair such at horse, sheep or goat.
No calligrapher is complete without respect for the materials they have at hand, care and consideration for the rituals that form this final masterpiece imbue a spirit into every part of it. To the very end, there is tradition, there is an uncanny grace and there is performance.