Calligraphy with Willow and Swallows

Calligraphy with Willow and Swallows

1400s

Ikkyū Sōjun

(Japanese, 1394-1481)

Hanging scroll, ink on paper

Overall: 104 x 34.8 cm (40 15/16 x 13 11/16 in.)

Gift from the Collection of George Gund III 2015.463

Description

The jumbled, even raucous appearance of this hanging scroll is no accident; the scratchy willow trunk—a single, carefully modulated brushstroke for most of its length—has been portrayed with an eye toward amplifying the structure and the ink values of the Chinese characters arranged in file next to it. Its four principal branches are drawn in rich, dark black ink. Thin ink lines—applied in an intriguing mix of light, dark, and thick, dry brushstrokes—comb through the "leafage" washes, providing an underlying network that intersects with and overlays the calligraphic elements. Interspersed amid the upper branches are swallows flitting upward. Each is formed from three or four short curvilinear brushstrokes that create an upside-down "V" to define the wings, with two additional strokes for head and body. This kind of visual shorthand was often used by the Zen priest Ikkyu for depicting the natural world.

See also

Contact us

The information about this object, including provenance information, is based on historic information and may not be currently accurate or complete. Research on objects is an ongoing process, but the information about this object may not reflect the most current information available to CMA. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email collectionsdata@clevelandart.org.

To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.

Is something not working on this page? Please email help.website@clevelandart.org.

Request a digital file from Image Services that is not available through CC0, a detail image, or any image with a color bar. If you have questions about requesting an image, please email imageservices@clevelandart.org.