Typography deconstructed

Shodō 書道

In modern calligraphy, a number of tools are used to make a composition.

The basic tools were collectively called Four Treasures of the Study (文房四宝 bunbō shihō).

  • A brush (筆 fude).
  • An inkstick (墨 sumi). The best inksticks are between 50 and 100 years old.
  • Mulberry paper (和紙 washi).
  • An inkstone (硯 suzuri) to grind the inkstick against, mixed with water.

Other tools.

  • A paper weight (文鎮 bunchin) to hold the paper in place.
  • A cloth (下敷き shitajiki) to place under the paper (often newsprint is used as well) to prevent ink from bleeding through.
  • A seal (印 in). The art of engraving a seal is called "tenkoku" 篆刻. The student is encouraged to engrave his own seal. The position of the seal or the seals is based on aesthetic views. One is not allowed to put a seal on a sutra's calligraphy.