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 Post subject: Go Seigen calligraphy
Post #1 Posted: Tue Feb 26, 2013 5:38 am 
Gosei

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I was looking something up in a once well-known book called Asian Nights (partly famous because it has headings such as "Go and chloroform"), when I inevitably saw again a photo in the frontispiece of a piece of Go Seigen calligraphy that I find breathtakingly beautiful. I thought I would share it here.

Why do I like it? An old oppo of mine, the late George Hodges once described Oriental calligraphy as a demented spider escaping from an inkpot, and given that many calligraphers choose obscurity as what they - misguidedly, I think - see as hidden art, there is something in that. But those writers who can combine the appearance of mystery, as Go does here with his large swirling lines, yet make the reading crystal clear, to my mind show superior artistic sense. There are also a couple of minor enhancements. The raised position of the first two characters to betoken respect is a nice touch, and the placing on its own of what is the least significant character (heart) calligraphically but perhaps the most important in terms of the message is exquisite. In general, what I notice most about Go's calligraphy is the way he frames the whole piece so precisely on the paper, and he does seem to prefer the paper rectangle over the fan.

As I say, this example is very easy to read, though I'm not sure that the blandness of the sentiment matches the calligraphy: he is saying that though go players do not speak as they face each other, each, while striving to get ahead, shows what is in his heart.


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 Post subject: Re: Go Seigen calligraphy
Post #2 Posted: Tue Feb 26, 2013 5:47 am 
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Following is the original Chinese poem describing Go playing. It was written by Li Congqian (李从谦) of Tang Dynasty.

竹林二君子,尽日竟沉吟。
相对终无语,争先各有心。 <- This line is what Go Seigen has written
恃强斯有失,守分固无侵。
若算机筹处,沧沧海未深。


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Post #3 Posted: Tue Feb 26, 2013 2:38 pm 
Judan
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Thanks, macelee.

Li Congqian (李從謙), (946-995 CE), in between Tang Dynasty and Song Dynasty.

相對終無語,争先各有心。 <- the line Li Congqian wrote in the poem.
相對雖(?)無語,争先各有心。 <- what Go Seigen wrote in the calligraphy.
Maybe Go changed the character from 終 to 雖 on purpose, or maybe he misquoted. Somebody could ask him. :)
Code:
心 先 無 相
   各 語 對
   有 争 雖(?)

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 Post subject: Re: Go Seigen calligraphy
Post #4 Posted: Tue Feb 26, 2013 3:25 pm 
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Rather strange that two Chinese people should gloss over the same character, but what Go actually wrote was 雖 and not 終

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Post #5 Posted: Tue Feb 26, 2013 11:08 pm 
Oza
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EdLee wrote:
Thanks, macelee.

Li Congqian (李從謙), (946-995 CE), in between Tang Dynasty and Song Dynasty.

相對終無語,争先各有心。 <- What Go Seigen actually wrote, in traditional characters.
Code:
心 先 無 相
   各 語 對
   有 争 終


Could you explain how the characters are ordered on the page?

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Post #6 Posted: Tue Feb 26, 2013 11:14 pm 
Oza

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daal wrote:
Could you explain how the characters are ordered on the page?

read down, top to bottom, starting from right to left

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Post #7 Posted: Tue Feb 26, 2013 11:43 pm 
Judan
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Thanks, John -- it does look like 雖 and not 終, good thing Go Seigen is still around -- somebody could ask him. :)

daal, yes, what xed_over said: start from the upper right corner, read down;
when you hit the bottom of the paper, move left and start at the top again.
It's the same as writing in English -- just rotated 90 degrees clockwise. :)

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Post #8 Posted: Thu Feb 28, 2013 3:20 pm 
Judan
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Feb 27, 2013. Go Seigen, now 99 years of age, studying the Kisei game, with O Rissei and Rin Kaiho:
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 Post subject: Re: Go Seigen calligraphy
Post #9 Posted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 2:24 pm 
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For anyone who still was not getting how Go Seigen made the 虽 radical, there are actually a huge number of examples of it on Google Images due to its use in the title of a famous poem. Search for 龟虽寿 - it's quite impressive to see the same poem in so many different styles on the same screen.


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 Post subject: Re: Go Seigen calligraphy
Post #10 Posted: Tue Apr 02, 2013 11:00 pm 
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Beautiful... even to the uninitiated !


On a related note, I was wondering what is being expressed in this context :

http://item.rakuten.co.jp/nihonkiin/200j/

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 Post subject: Re: Go Seigen calligraphy
Post #11 Posted: Wed Apr 03, 2013 12:56 am 
Gosei

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"Dark, yet clear as day". This is from the Confucian "Doctrine of the Golden Mean", and it is a metaphorical description of the perfect gentleman: dark on the surface, bright inside: "a gentleman has no adornment outside but is cultivated inside".

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 Post subject: Re: Go Seigen calligraphy
Post #12 Posted: Wed Apr 03, 2013 4:45 pm 
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Thank you John, for your kind elucidation of the calligraphy. I shudder when I recollect all the distorted translations I received from :-? "Google Translate" !

A very apt writing for the sensu, I think, from a great yet modest man like Go Seigen sensei :bow: One of my favorite pictures of him is this one from "The Japanese Game of 'Go'", by Mihori Fukumensi, which I discovered (not surprisingly) through SL

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 Post subject: Re: Go Seigen calligraphy
Post #13 Posted: Sat Apr 13, 2013 8:49 pm 
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John Fairbairn wrote:
"Dark, yet clear as day". This is from the Confucian "Doctrine of the Golden Mean", and it is a metaphorical description of the perfect gentleman: dark on the surface, bright inside: "a gentleman has no adornment outside but is cultivated inside".



Got inspired by this to buy the sensu from Nihon Ki-in :blackeye:

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