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Bunbō shihō (文房四宝, ぶんぼう しほう).

Mini2:b10_bunbo_shiho.jpg"Bunbo Shiho: | Four treasures of the study (文房四宝, ぶんぼう しほう, bunbō shihō) displayed during the Exibition of Cultural Goods, Beijing (北京文物精品展, Chinese: Běi jīng wén wù jīng pǐn zhǎn)."

The Four Treasures of the Study. Namely: brush, inkstone, ink and paper.

- The most important of them is the brush (筆, ふで, fude). It is an extension of the calligrapher’s body and soul. It is said that sho (書, しょ, here: “calligraphy”) is written with the heart and not with a brush, thus the brush becomes that very soul.

- The second treasure is the ink stone (硯, すずり, suzuri). The soul of the calligrapher’s studio. Inkstone is the most durable of them all.

- Paper (紙, かみ, kami) and ink (墨, すみ, sumi) are the remaining two treasures. They underline the impermanence of things in nature, which further amplifies their beauty. White paper stands for Yang (陽) forces of the Universe whereas the black ink is balancing them by means of its Yin (陰) nature. Together they form perfect harmony and bring aesthetic balance into our lives through a calligraphic work.

There are many tools that calligraphers use (paper weight, mats, water containers, brush holders, etc.), however these four are absolutely essential to this art, not only because of their necessity but primarily due to their profound symbolic meaning they hold. The Four Treasures of the Study were often themes of poems, paintings and calligraphy in ancient China. Please refer to the Four Treasures section of our main website to read in greater details.

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Page last modified on December 12, 2011, at 07:11 AM