Calligraphy, Kanji and Kana

  1. Brush Writing In The Arts Of Japan Showcasing masterworks of brush-inscribed Japanese texts, some serving as independent works of art and others enhanced by decorated papers or by paintings, this Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibition takes a close look at the original gestural movement marked in each work—the applied pressure, speed, and rhythm that are said to reflect the artist's state of mind. The works on view, dating from the eleventh century to the present, demonstrate that beauty was often the supreme motive in the rendering of Japanese characters, even at the expense of legibility. Complementing examples of calligraphy are paintings evoking the literary contexts that have inspired poets through the ages. Lavishly decorated brushes, writing boxes, inkstones, and ink tablets—the cherished accoutrements of writers—demonstrate the esteemed status of brush writing in Japanese culture, past and present. There are interesting descriptions of each artwork plus large, clear photos that can be easily download.

  2. Learn All About Kanji with this Wikipedia article. It's an extensive introduction to the very complicated writing system used by the Japanese. The amazing fact is that even with a system that takes so much time to learn, the literacy rate in Japan is 90% (that's better than the USA rate).

  3. The Art of Calligraphy is an interesting article reviewing an exhibit of Japanese calligraphy in Paris in 1998. It includes a brief history of calligraphy up to the modern contests sponsored by Japanese newspapers.

  4. Demonstration of Zen Enso Calligraphy for a 4 minute 26 second demonstration of a mediation technique incorporating calligraphy.


Previous Back to Japanese Art History Next