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Scroll: Calon Cross for Saito Takauji

So now that it has been handed out, here are pictures of the scroll that I was working on. The Calon Cross is a Grant of Arms (GOA) level award in Calontir (they do pre-prints for AOA level awards) and is given out for service. Uji is a friend, so I was very happy to be given this assignment.

The text says: That the loyal civil acts of Saito Takauji, for the Society, the Grand Council, and as Gold Falcon Herald are excellent and will be rewarded, is stated thus. We raise him to the Order of the Calon Cross.
Damien, King
Issabel, Queen
Year of the Society 52 year, 8 month, 26 day

Saito Takauji dono ha Shakai ya Dai hyougi-kai no chuusei koto to kintaka denreisha koto ga shinmyou, onjou no jou koto kuden.
Shin juujika gumi ni irareru.

Damien mikado heika
Issabel chuugu heika

Shakai gojuu ni nen hachigatsu nijuu roku nichi
斎藤高氏殿社会大評議会忠誠事金鷹伝令者事神妙可有恩賞之状如件
心十字架組入
ダアミエン帝陛下
イサベル中宮陛下
社会五十二年八月二十六日

The model I used was from the Documents of Iriki, 96-2, #83-C, from Kenmu 3, 8th month, 17th day (September 22, 1336), given to one Shibuya Shigekatsu by Ashikaga Takauji, the first Shogun of the Ashikaga line. I took some set phrases from it, and added what phrases were needed for this award. I had Foro Pallavincino (Baron Christoforo from Northshield, who has a degree in Japanese and lived there for a few years), look over my Japanese text and make suggestions, which I then modified a bit. It is all in kanji–the hiragana that would be used in particles were not usually written down in these documents. Ink on washi paper, pre-mounted scroll. The kanji is written in kaisho script (the original was in gyousho script, but I was going for clarity here). The painting is based on a portrait of the poet Ki no Tomonori (who bears an amazing resemblance to Uji!), done in the Nise-e style.

takauji_finished_scroll_detail

takauji_full_scroll

I definitely learned a lot while doing this scroll. There are some things (mainly in the brushwork) that I feel could be better, but the recipient was very happy, and that is what matters. I’m looking forward to tackling another design in the future.

English-language Tensho Exemplar

My shodo teacher Tony Skeen just published a couple of reference books that will help those looking to make inkan (seals). Both are intended to be used in tandem with the New Nelson’s Japanese-English Character Dictionary.

The first volume is to help people sound-out their (non-Japanese) names in Kanji. There are choices–you can go by meaning, but then the pronunciation will be completely different, or you can go by pronunciation and find comparable kanji–THEN you have to watch for the meaning and also double-check to make sure it doesn’t have some slang meaning in Japanese that might be embarrassing. So this first volume is a list of kanji by sound, in English alpha-order. Choosing Kanji for Use on a Seal Stone

The second volume has brushed tensho-script examples of the kanji from the first volume, both as normal and also in reverse (which is how you would carve it to make a seal). As far as I know, there is no other English-language resource on tensho-script that is this detailed. Tensho Kanji for Making a Seal Stone

Both of these are meant to be used in tandem with the New Nelson’s Japanese/English Character Dictionary. Nelson’s is one of the best J/E Kanji Dictionaries available. Here is the Goodreads link to it. They have it listed new on Amazon for $44 dollars, but seriously, shop around. I found mine new on Ebay for $18, and sometimes you can find it for even less! The New Nelson Japanese-English Character Dictionary. NOTE: Be sure and get the latest version, so the numbers match up. Also, it’s much larger than the original.

I’ve been studying shodo with Tony Skeen for over a year now. He’s a certified instructor through Nihon Shuji Kyoiku Zaidan and has been practicing shodo for over 20 years. The books are pricey, but he’s not making much of a profit–the cost is mainly due to the books being self-published on small print runs.

He let me look at the proofs when he was working on the book and the books are very to-the-point. He just wants to make it easier for people to make better inkan. The online sites that offer to create tensho often use a computer font. These are HAND BRUSHED examples.