The calligraphy to the left depicts only a small fragment of a Chinese classic Daodejing (道德經; also read as Tao Te Ching), by Laozi (老子, c. 5th or 6th century B.C.).
The Tao (or the Way), literally means "the path". In great simplification, Tao is a phenomenon, or a force, that cannot be defined, logically explained or mastered. It simply exists and it is out there for one to attune with it intuitively. Taoism, then, is a way of living, based on a concept of simplicity, attunement to nature, the concept of "non-acting". As Laozi has said himself:
"The Tao that can be named is not the eternal Tao. The Name that can be named is not the eternal name. The nameless is the beginning of Heaven and Earth. the named is the mother of all things."
Taoism, a philosophy and religion , had a great impact on arts and politics of China. That includes calligraphy. The essence of calligraphy is for one to be able to express one`s inner understanding of the art. The inner understanding becomes the Tao of calligraphy, a path of life one has chosen to follow. Each line, each stroke, and each page define the way of life of a given calligrapher. By looking at one`s calligraphy, we can understand and appreciate one`s Tao. Consequently, if one remains true to the Tao of calligraphy, one`s works will be powerful and truly masterful.
Above calligraphy is written in small seal script (小篆). I used gold ink on black paper (20x20cm). The text reads: 天下神器、不可為也、不可執也。為者敗之、執者失之。 "The world is a sacred vessel. It should not be meddled with. It should not be owned. If you try to meddle with it, you will ruin it. If you try to own it, you will lose it." It is a quotation from Daodejing.
To see this work in a larger format, please visit the coloured paper gallery.
For those of you who enjoy meditation, I recommend you check the ultimate guide to Taoist meditation by Julian Goldie.
Ponte Ryuurui (品天龍涙)