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Sanpitsu (三筆, さんぴつ, lit. “three brushes”)

Literally “three brushes”. Although there were more than one “sanpitsu” in the history of Japanese calligraphy, “sanpitsu” is usually used in reference to the legendary trio from the Heian period (平安時代, へいあんじだい, 794 - 1185), namely: Emperor Saga (嵯峨天皇,, さがてんのう, 785–842, the 52nd emperor of Japan, Tachibana no Hayanari (橘 逸勢, たちばな の はやなり, 782 - 844, a governmental official, and Kūkai (空海, くうかい, 774 – 835), a Buddhist monk and scholar. Each of them had a profound influence on the development of calligraphy in Japan. They also laid the foundations for wayō shodō (和様書道, わようしょどう), a purely Japanese style of 書 (しょ, sho, here: “calligraphy”), whose ideas were solidified by Ono no Michikaze (小野道風, おの の みちかぜ, 894 – 966, also known as おの の とうふう, Ono no Tōfū) a century later. Also, according to legend, Kūkai was the founding father of kana (かな) script.

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Page last modified on November 04, 2011, at 08:41 AM