Wizards of ink: 王羲之 (Wáng Xīzhī, 303 – 361), Part III.

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In the ninth year of the Yonghe era (永和九年, pinyin: Yǒnghé, 345 – 357 C.E.), the year of the Yin Water Ox, under the reign of Emperor Mu of Jin (晉穆帝, pinyin Jìn Mùdì, 343 – 361C.E.), at the beginning of the third lunar month (after April 20, 353 C.E.), on the first day of the month of the serpent, fourty two literati noblemen gathered at the Orchid Pavilion in Shanyin County (山陰,pinyin: Shānyīn), in order to celebrate the Spring Purification Festival (修禊, pinyin: xiūxì). One of them was Wang … [Read more...]

Blessings of the Dragon Gods

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On January 23 rd, 2012, we enter the Year of the Yang (陽, pinyin: yáng, lit. “sun”; male element Yang) Water Dragon, which appears in a 62 year cycle. It is a year I have been awaiting for a long time. Its symbolism is closely related to East Asian calligraphy, and it also gives me the opportunity to explain my pen name.Dragons in Far Eastern mythology are benevolent creatures; bearers of wisdom, power, and positive energy. Together with a phoenix, dragon’s Yin (陰, pinyin: yīn, lit. … [Read more...]

Rinsho – the magical ink time machine. Part II

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East Asian calligraphy is a very peculiar art; a life-long journey during which we learn its strict rules only to suspend them in the act of using the brush in order to write freely. Alas, without the daily practice of rinsho (臨書, りんしょ, i.e. “copying [studying] masterpieces”) all of our efforts would be in vain.Throughout years of study I have come across many ancient classics (古典, こてん, koten) and written them repetitively. Saving one’s own work from the past is invaluable, as it allows … [Read more...]