The art of Japanese Calligraphy
Japanese calligraphy is more traditionally known as Shodo or Shodou, which can be translated as ‘the way of writing.‘ It is a form of artistic writing that dates back to many centuries ago to when it was first originated in China but one the Japanese mastered it, it quickly became part of their culture.
The art of calligraphy is to give words character and in a sense, bring them to life. Just like handwriting, everyone’s style is completely unique. The sweeping of the brush is meant to be spontaneous and is also what makes it such a difficult skill of writing to perfect. The characters are only meant to be written once and must not be altered or touched up and just the right amount of ink should be on the brush.
In order to truly grasp this ancient form of art, it is said that the artist needs to be in a calm and almost meditative state of mind. This allows them to fully focus all their attention on their work and distance themselves from any possible distractions. Calligraphy also allows the artist to express their personality and has for many become one of the widely recognised symbols of Japanese society.
A piece of calligraphy work can consist of as little as one single character to a line of writing. Japanese drawings are also considered as a form of calligraphy, incorporating the various different distinct styles. Both characters and drawings are typically white on black, however other Japanese artwork is more colourful and often embraces more classic Japanese floral and bird imagery and other traditional scenes.
The tools used in Japanese calligraphy are a pen or brush, an ink dish or block and calligraphy paper. The brushes come in both thin and thick options, allowing you to create different sized characters or drawings. The art is still popular in Japan today and is taught in many schools as a subject.
Nowadays calligraphy is often displayed as wall art or on scrolls and prints in homes and places of work around the world. Japanese cards also often use calligraphy characters to represent different occasions. There are a number of well known calligraphy artists who specialise in this form of painting and whose works have become synonymous with the world of culture and history in Japan.
The Japanese Shop has a fantastic range of Japanese calligraphy items including authentic calligraphy paper, sets and pens that can all be used to practice your Japanese calligraphy techniques.