- 書学書道史研究 (ISSN:18832784)
- vol.2014, no.24, pp.15-28,119-118, 2014 (Released:2015-04-11)
The manuscript of the Rōko shiiki 聾瞽指歸 attributed to Kūkai 空海 (Kōbō Daishi 弘法大師) dates from the start of the Heian period. In this article I focus on its formal characteristics and reexamine the advancement of the Japanization of Chinese calligraphic techniques in the history of Japanese calligraphy. The Rōko shiiki is characterized by changes in the size of characters depending on the flow of the narrative and the overall spatial composition and by the use of diverse calligraphic techniques to correlate the characters with surrounding characters. Each of the individual elements has its origin in Chinese calligraphy, but because they have been selected by the calligrapher for the purpose of calligraphic expression and have been structured on the basis of his own interpretation, one can detect an individuality that differs from that of China. In particular, a key to understanding the method of structuring the paper is the "variation and harmony" that are considered to have become established by the time of the Nara period in the history of Japanese calligraphy. Among the Shōsōin 正倉院 documents there are examples in which "variation and harmony" have been employed in the size, placing, and slant of characters. It is to be surmised that the writing styles of immigrant monks and Japanese monks who had studied in China, both groups of whom transmitted the traditional calligraphic style of Wang Xizhi 王羲之, were consulted when developing this sense of composition. In documents of the Nara period, the act of writing by making distinctive use of space and taking into account relationships with nearby characters, based on traditions going back to Wang Xizhi, manifested in a structuring of sheets of paper that displayed "variation and harmony." Consequently, the expression of "variation and harmony" in the Rōko shiiki can be understood as a distinctive feature of "Japanization" that emerged as Chinese calligraphic techniques took root during the Nara period. In the eighth century, when understanding of Chinese calligraphy was inadequate, people were seeking to master calligraphic styles in this manner. As a result, the interpretations and aesthetic sense of people of the Nara period came to be reflected in calligraphy and brought about advancing Japanization in the history of Japanese calligraphy.