Monday, August 22, 2011

Another Excerpt

Harmony is a central aspect of shodo. Harmony is frequently expressed through a state of dynamic balance. Balance in shodo is asymmetrical, which produces an active feeling of movement within the characters. One could liken it to a picture of a sprinter whose inclined running posture has been frozen by the camera. Seeing such a picture, you instantly have a sensation of movement, but this sensation is different from what you experience when viewing a photo taken of a runner at the moment he trips and is falling forward. Both photos show bodies inclined in the direction in which they are moving; the difference between the two is balance. Balance in shodo can also be witnessed through a natural alternation of heavy and light brush pressure, which in turn produces an oscillation of thick and thin lines of ink. If all the brush strokes are of equal thickness the work looks stilted, unnatural, and dead. --The Japanese Way of the Artist


Asymmetrical balance is used in kado (flower arrangement) to evoke naturalness. Since nature involves the motion of continuous change, kado should not have a static feeling--exactly what is created by using a rigid, symmetrical balance. Instead, the utilization of unevenness is endlessly variable and calls forth a dynamic feeling of movement. --The Japanese Way of the Artist