Tuesday, February 14 2006

Bargain Brushwork

Over the holidays, I visited with family, and my mother wanted to know the meaning of some of the Chinese/Japanese characters she’d hung on her walls. Most of them were in fact Chinese, but I was still able to give her the general meaning. Some were in a calligraphic style that made it difficult to count strokes, others simply weren’t in Japanese-oriented dictionaries, but one set of prints in particular stood out.

stroke art

When I showed this picture to my Japanese teacher, a Shodou artist, she almost fell off her chair laughing. Why? Because they mean “11¥, 12¥, 13¥, 14¥”. When I first saw them, I said, “Mom, you didn’t buy art, you bought the price tags!”