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Frequently Asked Calligraphy Questions by Kakubei


What is Chinese Calligraphy?

Chinese Calligraphy is one of the highest forms of art in China. It is the art of writing Chinese characters. It is almost as old as China, believed to have begun in the latter part of the 2nd and 4th century. The forms and styles have changed with each period in Chinese history.


What is Japanese Calligraphy?
The history of Japanese Calligraphy began with the adoption of the Chinese character writing system in the early 5th century. Because Japanese linguistics are very different from Chinese, the challenge was to fit the Chinese writing system to the Japanese language. The Japanese devised a phonetic alphabet called かな “kana” to address this problem. Japanese Calligraphy is a unique calligraphy style based on Kana. The subject matter is ancient Japanese poetry and a very small brush is used.


Chinese Calligraphy has a long and rich history; as a result there are many styles of Chinese Calligraphy. Which styles do you utilize?
In order to become a Master in Chinese Calligraphy the study and proficiency in five styles of calligraphy are required: regular script 楷書, semi-cursive 行書, cursive 草書, and two ancient styles. The cursive style is the style Kakubei predominately uses in her work.


Kakubei is a Master Chinese and a Master Japanese Calligrapher. Is there “continuing education” or requirements once the Master level is attained?
Kakubei submits four pieces each month to her calligraphy federation in Tokyo every month. Submissions are judged and results are published monthly. Kakubei also travels back to Tokyo to continue studying with her Grand Master Kakugetsu Sensei.


When Kakubei accepts a commission, what are the planning stages from acceptance to final piece?
All Kakubei’s commission pieces are original works. The Chinese character is selected after a discussion with the client and their desires for the meaning of the piece. The style of the Chinese character is uniquely designed for each client. Where the piece will ultimately be displayed in a home or office … the interior design, color scheme and function of the room is a factor in selecting the type, texture and color of the rice paper, and the style of framing that will be used. The rice paper selected will influence the ultimate flow and design of the Chinese character. Numerous factors impact the final art piece.


What is the time frame from acceptance of a commission to delivery of the final piece?
The actual calligraphy piece is painted in Tokyo. The rice papers are selected in Tokyo. The style of framing, whether it is traditional framing, a silk scroll or a multi-panel screen … is done by a special Tokyo framer that Kakubei has used for many years. Therefore the time frame for the completion of a commission piece is dependent upon Kakubei’s Tokyo schedule, and the framing and shipping time requirements. Generally time frame is three to six months. 


What can we expect to pay for one of your paintings?
The approximate price ranges from the smallest piece which would be about $1,800 to over $10,000 for a two panel screen.

 

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