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Shodo: The Art of Coordinating Mind, Body and Brush.

Shodo: the Art of Coordinating Mind, Body and Brush. William Reed, New York: Japan Publications, Inc., 1989. Illustrated, 197 pp., softbound, $16.95.

Shodo, or oriental brush-writing, is presented in this book as the perfect fusion of language, emotion and vision. The author, who teaches calligraphy in Japan, began his study of Japanese arts and culture in 1972. In this very readable book, he teaches the basic skills of calligraphy within a broad cultural context. The beginning section discusses the brush as an extension of the self, magnifying the power of concepts that are difficult to put into words. Beginning with precise instructions on how to hold the brash and apply the ink to the paper's surface, Reed proceeds to cite connections between Eastern and Western intelligence, commenting on such disaparate topics as gestalt psychology and Western concepts of space.

The book's second section provides the Western reader with means to recognize, visualize and write Japanese characters, while the concluding section covers a wide range of topics from the design and display of calligraphy to handwriting and personality characteristics revealed by the brash. Each of the twelve chapters is summarized by a set of concise principles for easy reference. An informative and evocative book.
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Author:Baker, David
Publication:School Arts
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Apr 1, 1990
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