Wednesday, September 4, 2013

A Simple message in Rorschach-like Calligraphy

Produced for our monastery and donated by Ven. Gyokan Hayashida, the head of the Tendai Calligraphy Association, to the untrained eye, such as mine, the characters are unreadable, at least the left and right ones, and it appears more to be a Rorschach test.  One time there were four senior Tendai priests from Japan viewing this calligraphy together and trying to decipher it. After about 3 minutes the first to understand let out a laugh, pointing out to the others that it was the very familiar motto of the sect: BRIGHTEN ONE CORNER. The calligrapher had achieved his purpose of getting the viewers to apply their minds and then surprising them. (The single horizontal stroke at bottom center is 'ichi', meaning 'one'. Starting there and reading clockwise, the four characters are ICHI GU O TERASU.      

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