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FacingAPond

Facing a pond (臨池, Chinese: lín chí)

It means “to practice / study calligraphy”. The phrase itself is a reference to 張芝 (Zhāng Zhī, birth date unknown, died in 190 C.E.), the most renowned master of sōsho (草書, そうしょ, cursive script), who lived during late Han dynasty (漢朝, 206 B.C. – 220 C.E.). He is often referred to as a sage of cursive script (草聖, Chinese: cǎo shèng). The legend says that he was very poor and had no money to buy paper, so he often practiced on any cloth that he could find. After studying, he washed the cloth, brush and inkstone in a nearby pond, whose water turned pitch black over time. For that reason, the phrase “to face the pond” is a synonym for diligent studies of calligraphy (also see: rinsho (臨書, りんしょ).

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Page last modified on October 22, 2011, at 02:53 AM