Tag Archives: japanese art

Bokuseki ~ Ink traces

Bokuseki ~ Ink traces
Hi there Readers! :hoshi:
How’s life treating you? Mine has started to become quite steady (as you can tell from the more or less regular entries I’ve never had.. :youreweird: ) but yesterday was a special day nevertheless because I got to see and hear master calligraher Suishū Tomoko KlopfensteinArii.

円相 – the circle represents emptiness and completion, it is often used as a visual symbol for Zen

Her and Yamakawa Sōgen Rōshi’s Bokuseki 墨跡 (ink traces) are currently being exhibited at the ethnological museum in Zurich. I haven’t been to the exhibition yet but yesterday she held a lecture about Bokuseki and Chinese and Japanese calligraphy in general which was so interesting! I had never heard of Bokuseki and all but her speech with the following demostration totally drew my attention. Bokuseki is a form of Japanese calligraphy (Shodō) that was introduced with the Zen-Buddhism in Japan during the 13th century by Chinese Chinese Zen monks. The traditional and the Chinese calligraphy then started to strongly influence one an other.

“Silently spread black strokes on white surface“ Suishū K.-A.

“It’s finished when the white spaces start breathing“ Suishū K.-A.

Bokuseki doesn’t only show the form and meaning of a character but reflects an intensively experienced moment. That’s why some of the more modern Bokuseki have characters that are almost illegible. As soon as I arrived at home I felt the urge to draw myself and started practicing Katakana with ink and brush like crazy! I had bought a cheap set in Japan but had never opened it… well I guess I will use it a lot from now on because I really want to get better at calligraphy.

To see a few more pics, read on~
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Beauty of the Moment

Beauty of the Moment
Seriously guys, I’m happy and thankful for your sweet comments on my outfit post. I know there are plenty of fashion blogs out there with exemplary coords and shots so I really had to overcome myself before posting those pics. I’m glad I did so though! :bling:
But I’m actually here to tell you about an event and an exhibition I’m looking forward to. The exhibition is called The Beauty of the Moment ~ Women in Japanese Woodblocks Prints and is taking place at Museum Rietberg in Zurich from the 7th of July to the 14th of October. What I’m looking forward to even more though, is the Tanabata star festival, meaning “Evening of the seventh” that will be the opening of the exhibition. :hoshi: There will be concerts, yummy japanese food stands, movies, workshops, and even a tea ceremony.

Teahouse girls under a wistaria espalier by Kitagawa Utamaro

Tanabata has its origins in a moving love story. Only on this one particular day of the year can the weaver Orihime and the cowherd Hikoboshi meet before the two stars Wega and Altair, which represent the two lovers, are separated again by the Milky Way. :jupp:
Every year on 7 July, children and adults write a wish on a piece of paper in honour of the lovers. Hung from bamboo branches, their wishes should come true. :bang:

Seventh Month, Evening Send-Off by Torii Kiyonaga

The core of the exhibition however, is an exquisite selection of 100 representations of women by Japan’s best-known woodblock printers of the 18th and 19th centuries. An essential element of Japanese woodcuts is the idea of capturing the ephemeral moment. In the genre of bijingapictures of beautiful women –, artists portray women in snapshots full of irretrievable charm.

At the beginning of the nineteenth century, color woodblock prints in Japan played a role similar to that played by commercial art in Europe today. But soon – probably because Western art lovers admired the intricacy and refinement of the compositions – individual works were gaining world renown. The appeal of this typically Japanese art form continues to this day. Artists and designers in particular value woodblocks as an important source of inspiration. A key element of Japanese woodblock prints, which is encapsulated by the term ukiyo-e, ‘pictures of the floating world’, is the way they capture the fleeting moment.

The works displayed come mostly from the famous collection of the novelist James A. Michener (1907–1997). The Honolulu Museum of Art, where the Michener collection is housed, possesses one of the most outstanding and best pre- served collections of Japanese woodblocks in the world. All the pictures and information in this entry are from the museum’s website: Rietberg
Do you like Japanese art? Frankly I’m not the frequent museum visitor but if there’s a little fun bound to it, why not? I wish I had a traditional Japanese robe to wear for such events like a Yukata but I guess something else will have to do.

Laurita & Miho-chan, it would be fun to see you there :nekopaw:


Tsukumogami or~ The repentant Artifacts

Tsukumogami or~ The repentant Artifacts

I’m a bit late with this month’s Yōkai but here it is.
Tsukumogami (付喪神) are artifact spirits.There are many types of tsukumogami, as in folk belief virtually any object has the potential to attain consciousness. They are usually depicted as having human, animal or monstrous limbs growing from object bodies, or else as human bodies with objects as their heads.
In Japan it is said, that houshold items and artifacts become alive, once they reach one hundred years of age. At every ending of a year in December, the event called Sweeping soot, Susuharai (煤払い, comparable to sping-cleaning) is held in which people thoughly clean their houses and old tools are thrown away on an alley. Getting rid of these old houshold items should prevent them from bringing bad luck and mishaps to your home.


Legend has it that during the Kenpō era (964–968), there was a rebellion of such old household items. The story goes that, having been tossed out into the street by noble families in Kyoto, a group of angry household tools got together to formulate a plan to punish the humans who had discarded them after so many years of loyal service.

Household items gathering and plotting revenge

Some of the most known Tsukumogami include:

Bakezori: A discarded sandal which scampers through the house muttering to itself
Biwabokuboku: An enchanted Biwa lute that can only be played by certain people
Boroboroton: A ratty old bedding sheet, which presses down upon the sleeper and suffocates them
Burabura: A ripped, ragged lamp which floats in the air spewing fire
Kameosa: A bottle of Sake which, having received a good life from its many owners, is benevolent to humans, providing an unlimited amount of whatever fluid is put in
Karakasa: A battered umbrella with a hairy leg for a pole, a long tongue and a cyclopean eye
Kosode no Te: A child’s Kimono, handed down for years but often the first thing to be pawned in hardship, it channels the will of those who used to wear it
Kotofurunushi: Another enchanted instrument, a doglike creature born from a Koto (slide-guitar)
Mokumokuren: A battered screen door in abandoned houses, which glares at those who sleep behind it with eyes in its holes.
Setotaisho: Soldiers made of cutlery which attack Kitchen staff. Mostly harmless, and prone to dashing itself apart when it charges, only to piece it together and start again.

To read about the legend of the Tsukumogami Emaki, read on!
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