Japanese Calligraphy Shop

I have collected together here a range of sumi-e sets and books on Japanese calligraphy that you can purchase on-line. I have been careful in my selection to choose only those items that I think are interesting and useful for anyone interested in Calligraphy. Note that sumi-e really means painting with black ink and sho is a painting (sumi-e) made up of characters, referred to in the west as calligraphy. I hope that, like me, you will enter the beautiful world of sumi-e and find the beauty and peace it brings.
First you should obtain Christopher J. Earnshaw's marvellous book on Japanese Calligraphy and the book "Easy Kanji", both of which can be purchased by clicking on the links I give below. Earnshaw's book will give you an in-depth introduction into how to actually go about making the brush and ink do what you want them to do and the basic techniques for drawing a character (Kanji). The Easy Kanji book gives you a wider range of characters to use in your practice.
Some people are worried about using their credit cards to make on-line purchases. In fact, since our suppliers are well established, highly respected companies and credit card transactions are now handled by secure servers, the risk is possibly less than when you use your card to buy fuel or a meal in a restaurant, and you can shop with confidence.

Excellent Books on Calligraphy

The following books are the ones I personally recommend. There are of course others, but the books shown here are books I have used myself:

Learn to Write Chinese Characters (Yale Language Series)
by Johan Bjorksten
An introductory manual for writing Chinese characters specifically designed for English-speaking readers. The author guides the reader through the fundamentals of writing and introduces the various scripts used in China. This book teaches the principles of sound and beautiful writing - the names of the strokes, the order in which they are written, aesthetic principles, and the common radicals. Not only does it show exactly how to create each stroke, it also shows the various wrong ways to draw each stroke and even names the errors. Probably the best book you will find for learning the basic foundation skills.
Brush Writing: Calligraphy Techniques for Beginners
by Ryokushu Kuiseko
An excellent book for beginners learning to write Kanji and Hiragana. The detailed instructions are excellent and show you how to write each symbol step by step. The book covers 75 kanji, giving the meaning and pronunciation as well.

Materials and techniques are explained and there is a short history of Chinese and Japanese calligraphy. The calligraphy appreciation section is not only a great aid, it is also a great encouragement to learn more about this wonderful subject.
Brush Meditation: A Japanese Way to Mind & Body Harmony
by H.E Davey
Brush Meditation introduces beginners and non-artists alike to working with brush and ink as a form of "moving meditation." By showing you how the most elemental brush strokes reveal your physical and mental state, it teaches you to become "one with the brush," attuned to the underlying principles of life and nature. As the text explores the intricate relationships of mind, body, and brush, it delves into the mysteries of human life energy, or ki, and the power of the hara, a natural abdominal center. Simple exercises demonstrate how to use the brush in spiritual practice, while illustrations guide every step.
Sacred Calligraphy of the East
by John Stevens
A new edition of the divinely designed explication of Eastern calligraphy, invoking the rich tradition of Japan, China, India, and Tibet to illustrate both the technique and significance of the characters. The volume provides historical background and reflects on the art of copying religious texts.
Chinese Calligraphy: From Pictograph to Ideogram: the History of 214 Essential Chinese/japanese Characters
by Edoardo Fazzioli
The 214 radicals (basic characters) are explained with their history and with illustrations of the character's evolution from ancient pictographs to its current form. There is also a step-by-step demonstration on how the strokes are arranged and in what order they are written. Chinese friends tell me that the characters illustrated are not written with great style but a Western beginner to calligraphy could feel very happy producing work at this level.
Sho Japanese Calligraphy: An In-Depth Introduction to the Art of Writing Characters
by Christopher J Earnshaw
Looks at the historical and spiritual background to calligraphy and its releveance to Zen philosophy. Excellent for those wanting to explore this art form but a beginner wishing for practical help would be better with "Brush Writing" by Ryokushu Kuiseko.
Easy Kanji: A Basic Guide to Writing Japanese Characters
by Fujihiko Kaneda
This book sets out the rules of kanji (chinese characters) stroke order and groups the kanji by radical. It is an excellent introduction to 500 commonly used kanji.
Easy Hiragana: First Steps to Reading and Writing Basic Japanese (Passport Books) (English and Japanese Edition)
by Fujihiko Kaneda, Rika Samidori
An excellent book for learning the 48 characters of Hiragana. A clear and easy to follow primer that will allow you to master these basic Japanese characters.
The Art of Zen: Paintings and Calligraphy by Japanese Monks 1600-1925
by Stephen Addiss
Created spontaneously, Zen art ranges from intensely brushed calligraphic poems and emphatically gestural abstract shapes to roughly hewn, often humorous portraits of the Zen patriarch and his followers. This book brings together masterpieces of painting and calligraphy created by Japanese monks, who turned to visual imagery as an aid to meditation, as an expression of enlightenment, and as the purest form of transmitting Zen principles. The illustrations are accompanied by text which explains the fundamentals of Zen culture and includes many translations of Zen prose, poetry and sayings.

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Last updated 17 November 2012
Copyright © 2010 Graham G Hawker