At our recent Zen Brush shodō class in April we brushed the two nature based kanji characters of the zen phrase Kūge 空華 . These are well known kanji and together can be translated variously as sky flowers, petals of emptiness, sky splendour. They were gorgeous characters to brush!
As well as being images of nature this zen phrase is about embracing spaciousness and the world around us, when we stop judging things in categories. Blair explained this as well as the visual meanings and pictograms of the two characters. He then talked through each of the materials and shodō tools used in his setup.
After some helpful stroke practice and tips about holding the fude brushes, Blair gave stroke by stroke demonstrations of the the kanji characters in the kaisho and sōsho styles, with a brief explanation of the gyōsho semi cursive style to reveal the stroke order and link between the standard and fully cursive styles.
We then brushed them together in both styles (kaisho, sōsho) on a single sheet of hanshi paper, looking for harmony and balance in the sizes, weight and shapes of the characters. The kaisho for ge (flower) in kaisho standard script was a complicated one but delightful to copy in the fully cursive style!
Thanks a lot for joining and also many thanks to the participants who sent images of their shodō for this blog post and the lovely image of blossoms in Paris below…
Here is a short haiku poem that inspired the class –
The cherry flowers are nowKyoshi
In full bloom, and no petal
Flutters from the bough
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