Rules of Calligraphy, Written Screen by Ide Gakei, 1677
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Starting with the famous verse by Chinese Scholar YoYu (AD 53-18) ”The written character is a picture of the heart” (Sho kokoro Ga nari) here are written 42 rules of calligraphy spread over 10 narrow panels by the famous calligraphist Ide Gakei dated 1677. The verses appear to have been written in one sitting, the style going from crisp perfect Kaisho characters through Gyosho stylized characters and into the elegantly running Grass script (Sosho). The way the artist allows his hand to flow ever more freely with each line is captivating when taking in the whole, and creates a dynamic not often found. The calligraphy work is mounted on ten gold panels bordered in black lacquer. The screen is 150 x 19-1/2 inches (382 x 49.5 cm).
The rules of writing reflect the scholar ideas which came from Ming China and the humble nature of the Japanese Tea Ceremony (Sado, the way of tea). A great writer must be a small man, the written hand is a window to the soul, The heart must be right or the verse will not flow etc.
Ide Gakei (b. 1644) was a well known and published calligraphist studied under Sasaki Shizuma and Uchida Teshu. He lived his early life serving the powerful Kaga fief, where his calligraphy became known throughout Japan. He later moved to Kyoto where he passed on his unique style to Suzuki Shosui. Gakei was also known as, Shosui and or another Shosui using alternate characters. Several of his original published books, including Zoku Senjimon and Sosho Enkai, are held in the Waseda University Library