Saturday 28 January 2017

A horse. (late 1400s)

In Chinese and Japanese visuals arts, the same type of brush and ink are used for both writing and sketching. In Japan, painting in black ink is known as Sumi-e. In common with Japanese calligraphy, the emphasis in sumi-e is to achieve beauty in each of the individual strokes of the brush. 

One of the greatest masters of monochrome sumi-e art was Sesshū Tōyō (1420--1506). Sesshū was born into a samurai family and educated as a Rinzai Zen Buddhist priest. He became a pupil of another sumi-e master, Tenshō Shūbun (1414--1463), and later in life became  widely known for his exquisite art work throughout Japan and China.

The figure shows an ink sketch of a horse on paper by Sesshū. In this media there is no room for hesitation or re-work. Each stroke must be delivered to the paper with confidence and fluidity. The quality of the result is continually at risk during the process of making. When executed by a master like Sesshū, a handful of confident brush strokes are sufficient to capture the essence of a horse. 

Image from HERE.