Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Miyamoto Musashi Five Principles Japanese Calligraphy Scroll

This scroll is sold, if you would like a similar scroll made please contact

The Book of Five Rings was originally written by 宮本武蔵Miyamoto Musashi. Musashi is considered one of the most successful Ronin 浪士of all time. Ronin is the term for a Masterless Samurai. Exploits of Musashi’s life are part of the lore of Japanese feudalism.

As one of the greatest swordsmen of all time, Musashi wrote a book on the five principles characterizing his fighting style. Hence the book is referenced as five rings, all progressing on each other.

I made this scroll in honor of the five enlightening principles of battle outlined by this warrior. The principles are written as 地(Chi) Earth, 水(Mizu) Water, 火(Hi) Fire, 風(Kaze) Wind, and 空(Sora) Void or Empty Space. This is the same character used for Karate.

The Calligraphy is written by Ryugyoku. Her attention to detail is outstanding and truly reflects the care for which she aspires as a Shoka. This style although similar to a semi-cursive style is not typical of a true gyousho writing. The most particular elegance of the character wind, is exemplified by the continuous shapes of the inside box, typically written in three styles.

Because the scroll writing starts with Earth, I wanted to use a nature themed cloth that was not too overwhelming. The gold leaf pattern in this cloth seemed to fit naturally into the emotion of the work. I really loved doing this work and feel that this scroll has good balance of not being too small or too large.

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