holding the moon

holding the moon-Seikai Kunii

i thought this to be a good image for today- just 5 days from the next full moon. this calligraphy is by Seikai Kunii. i actually thought he was more well known but after googling him i could really not come up with anything. i have a book of his works that i purchased from him at a gallery show in LA many years ago. he was born in 1916 i believe. the kanji for moon is 月 (つき) read- tsuki and also read as getsu, the word for month.
my old friend Woody introduced us to Kunii’s work when i was a ceramics student and also studying japanese language, calligraphy and art history. Kunii’s statement for this calligraphy reads:

“I attempted to find it in the phrase the pathos of things in this world from the viewpoint of Buddhism.”

i’m sure it suffers a bit from translation but several things struck me when by *chance* i happened to open this book today.
in Japanese, the phrase mono no aware or the pathos of things embraces the Buddhist notion of impermanence.

and on this day, as the world says farewell to Steve Jobs and gives thanks for all he created and the vision he shared with the world, i dedicate this post to him in gratitude. i also found this quote from The Tale of the Heike Clan as translated by McCullough (1988):

“The sound of the Gion shôja bells echoes the impermanence of all things; the color of the sôla flowers reveals the truth that the prosperous must decline. The proud do not endure, they are like a dream on a spring night; the mighty fall at last, they are as dust before the wind.”

5 thoughts on “holding the moon

  1. Michelle in NYC

    This sensitivity and sensibility of your post today is precious–touches my heart–the heart of all manifest beings, I’m sure, who share in the impermanence and transience of matter, I first saw your posts on Jude’s wonderful blog, and just yesterday, Deanna reminded me of it too. Steve Jobs was one of the great beings of our times.

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    1. shiborigirl Post author

      karleen- today i learned the entomology of the kanji for the Japanese word kinu- or silk. very interesting. you will hear about it in UT. japanese calligraphy is very beautiful and Kunii’s work all has an element of “mono no aware” to me.

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