Thursday, January 27, 2011

shou and kotobuki


Shou is Chinese for "long life."  In Japanese, "long life" is kotobuki.  The same written character is used for shou  and for kotobuki.  My calligraphy, above, shows the character for "long life" with bamboo-like strokes and a bit of a lilt at the bottom.  The dot at the bottom is almost double-lobed.  It is OK calligraphy, and so I have added two red seals.  When I did "long life," some family and friends were having health trouble.  I see shou now and I think of them.

Kotobuki, below, is a work of calligraphy done late in his life by Hakuin, one of the most notable Zen Masters of all times.  You may know of him because of the wonderful koan that he came up with:  "What is the sound of one hand clapping?"  You can tell--yes?-- that I looked at Hakuin's kotobuki, that I have, in my simple calligraphy, paid homage to his great calligraphy.  His strokes are both bonelike/strong and round/alive.  He shows much force in this one character.


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