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Renmentai

Renmentai (連綿体, れんめんたい)

In Japanese, renmentai means an “unbroken line”. It is a reference to merging characters during writing either by physically connecting them with continuous brush strokes or creating an illusion of an “unbroken line”; i.e. the connection can be “suggestive” where we can imagine the line on the paper, but in fact it does not exist. During writing, even when a calligrapher lifts the brush, he is still “writing” a line in the air by the movement of his wrist, and when the brush tip gently descends to the sheet once more, the space between the kanji creates an illusion of an unbroken line. This is similar to dance, where gestures and rhythm are an extension of the form. Naturally, renmentai can be literally one long ribbon of ink, merging up to dozens of characters in a graceful yet dynamic manner. Renmentai is essential to the Japanese calligraphy style called kana (かな), but also a very characteristic feature of cursive styles (行書, ぎょうしょ, gyōsho, i.e. “semi-cursive script”, and 草書, そうしょ, sōsho, i.e. “cursive script”).

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Page last modified on November 04, 2011, at 07:46 AM