Shodo : The Quiet Art of Japanese Zen Calligraphy, Learn the Wisdom of Zen Through Traditional Brush Painting

4.07 (26 ratings by Goodreads)
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In this beautiful and extraordinary zen calligraphy book, Shozo Sato, an internationally recognized master of traditional Zen arts, teaches the art of Japanese calligraphy through the power and wisdom of Zen poetry.

Single-line Zen Buddhist koan aphorisms, or zengo, are one of the most common subjects for the traditional Japanese brush calligraphy known as shodo. Regarded as one of the key disciplines in fostering the focused, meditative state of mind so essential to Zen, shodo calligraphy is practiced regularly by all students of Zen Buddhism in Japan. After providing a brief history of Japanese calligraphy and its close relationship with the teachings of Zen Buddhism, Sato explains the necessary supplies and fundamental brushstroke skills that you'll need. He goes on to present thirty zengo, each featuring:

An example by a skilled Zen monk or master calligrapher
An explanation of the individual characters and the Zen koan as a whole
Step-by-step instructions on how to paint the phrase in a number of styles (Kaisho, Gyosho, Sosho)

A stunning volume on the intersection of Japanese aesthetics and Zen Buddhist thought, Shodo: The Quiet Art of Japanese Zen Calligraphy guides both beginning and advanced students to a deeper understanding of the unique brush painting art form of shodo calligraphy.

Shodo calligraphy topics include:

The Art of Kanji
The Four Treasures of Shodo
Ideogram Zengo
Students of Shodo
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Product details

  • Hardback | 176 pages
  • 236.22 x 312.42 x 27.94mm | 1,292.73g
  • Tuttle Publishing
  • Boston, United States
  • English
  • full-color throughout; 31 Zen koans
  • 4805312041
  • 9784805312049
  • 40,534

Review quote

"More than a primer on shodo, this book gives a thorough discussion of the practice of calligraphy as well as insight into the mindset and understanding required for writing zengo. Therefore, it should be seen as fitting into a long line of excellent publications that bring the often baffling teachings of Zen to a wide English-speaking audience." -Janice Katz, Ph. D., Roger L.Weston Associate Curator of Japanese Art, Art Institute of Chicago "This book is a gift for the mind and the eyes. Thoughtful commentary provokes an ongoing consideration of the meanings of the Zen phrases, while the brilliant inclusion of calligraphic how-to educates the eyes on how to follow the lines of ink in the original free-flowing gestures of the brush. I know I will return to this book again and again." -Christy A. Bartlett, Director, Urasenke Foundation San Francisco "An extraordinary book! Art and wisdom poised on the tip of a brush." -Lee Gurga, Editor, Modern Haiku Press "This boo SHODO - The Quiet Art of Japanese Zen Calligraphy - can be enjoyed two ways. One is to start and to practice Calligraphy, and two is as an introduction to Zen philosophy. Oh, and for those who are interested in both." blog "When complimented by an understanding of the literal, poetic, and philosophical meaning of the words, looking at Japanese calligraphy can be an exciting aesthetic and intellectual experience. It is with this goal in mind, of unlocking meaning and relevance to the non-Japanese speaker, that Shozo Sato presents his latest publication Shodo: The Quiet Art of Japanese Zen Calligraphy." -Deborah Clearwaters, Director of Education and Interpretation, Asian Art Museum San Francisco
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About Shozo Sato

Shozo Sato is a master of traditional Zen arts, and has received the Order of Sacred Treasure from the Emperor of Japan for his contributions in teaching Japanese traditions. His areas of expertise include ikebana (flower arranging), chanoyu (tea ceremony), and Japanese theater as well as sumi-e (ink painting). He conducts workshops on ikebana and sumi-e throughout the U.S., Asia and Europe and is the author of numerous books including Tea Ceremony, Shodo: The Quiet Art of Japanese Zen Calligraphy and The Art of Sumi-e. He was the founding director of Japan House at the University of Illinois, where he is Professor Emeritus and continues to teach Japanese arts. Shozo Sato resides in Champaign, IL.
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Rating details

26 ratings
4.07 out of 5 stars
5 35% (9)
4 46% (12)
3 12% (3)
2 8% (2)
1 0% (0)
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