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Discovering beauty in Japanese and Chinese stamps

14 December 2020

Discovering beauty in Japanese and Chinese stamps
Master Wakabayashi’s stamped shodo calligraphy

We looked closely at the styles of in 印 stamps at the Tenkoku 篆刻 seal engraving group, particularly at Japanese Master Wakabayashi.

Wakabayashi Shūjō was like a grandfather to Blair who started studying shodō calligraphy with him in 2002. He kindly introduced Blair to Tenkoku seal engraving and the materials to use and Blair could discover the many stamps made by him, mostly of his creative name 舟城 Shūjō meaning boat castle. In his calligraphy on shikishi board, he stamps this with a rectangular red letter type stamp.

His stone stamp are full of character and dynamic beauty, with the textures of the engraved lines and marks varied and alive and always interacting with the spaces.

Discovering beauty in Japanese and Chinese stamps

At the group we looked at and copied some of his inei stamp impressions, and participants had time to ask questions and to work on designs or carving at whatever stage they are at, some folk planning a new design. 

Blair gave a detailed demo of how to stamp and work with, as well as care for, the lovely deep red indei ink. Also he gave tips and examples about where in an artwork to stamp harmonically.

Discovering beauty in Japanese and Chinese stamps
Discovering beauty in Japanese and Chinese stamps
Discovering beauty in Japanese and Chinese stamps

Below is a lovely example of a stamp by one of the participants, with some of the texture and movement seen in Master Wakabayashi’s stamps.

Joan

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