Friday, May 18, 2012


I was sent this illustration of a large square box lid by Kumano Kuroemon. I am reminded, each time I see one of his decorated boxes, that the boxes are as much a work of art as are the pots, I am also reminded, that these are no ordinary Enso, done in a perfunctory manner to hype the package and contents. The Enso of Kumano are metaphors for the process by which the pots are made in a spontaneous act, born of the wheel, through the speed and dynamic tension of the Bear of Echizen. The motion of the Enso is mimicked in the pot or vice versa and the real expression of the calligraphy is meant to echo the contents hidden away inside the tomobaku. The Enso of Kumano might also be a reminder of the contemplative side of a process that is both brutal and chaotic yet born from the simplicity of an singular ideal.

"When you do something, you should burn yourself completely, like a good bonfire, leaving no trace of yourself."  Shunryu Suzuki  (1904-1971)

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