Sunday, February 6, 2011

今日の習字: 連綿体、変体仮名、篆書。 (Calligraphy!)

Today's shuuji (習字) lesson was 連綿体 (renmentai, connected kana) ふる、さと、はな、ひと. ひと took me the longest, especially the line from the pickup after ひ to the cross in と. Then 変体仮名 (hentaigana), several forms of わ, one of which is actually based on 王, which apparently is something like わん in Chinese. My favorite was a form based on 倭; I feel extra lucky because we got to do 麦 mugi twice, once as 偏 (in 和) and once in the upper part of 旁 (in 倭). それから篆書, seal script, our first attempts. We "interviewed" several forms of 寒 and 鳥, and then I gave it a shot—very different from kaisho and gyousho, in that sometimes the best we can do is try to reproduce examples from the old masters, without necessarily knowing the stroke order or even, sometimes, the stroke count. The good side of that is that there's some freedom in it.

My 小筆 kofude was good to me today and gave me pretty clean lines in hentaigana, as long as I kept the ink thick. It responded well to renmen, too, though because the bristles aren't starched it can be difficult to maneuver. I used a larger sheep-bristle fude for tensho and had trouble sometimes achieving the stroke entrances and symmetry I wanted.

Whenever we're looking for examples of things, 先生 brings out amazing books, full of calligraphy by ancient and modern masters. Today it recalled a discussion I'd had with 日本語の先生 about honorifics with nouns—when is the teacher's book ご本 vs just plain old 本? If sensei actually wrote the book, it may be go-hon; if it's just a book that sensei happens to have, then maybe just hon. But everything is situational, and sensei's books today definitely felt like ご本, full of examples of skill that should be respected, especially since 先生の自分の先生 was in them.

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