Kigel Studio

Philosophy of Sumi-e

Asian  brush painting, which includes both Chinese and sumi-e, or Japanese brush painting, is rooted in a tradition over two thousand years old.  In Japan this art was first practiced by the Zen priests to improve their spirituality and meditation through artistic concentration and perfection. Thus, sumi-e is more than just an art form.  It is a spiritual discipline requiring co-ordination of the hand and mind.  To paint in sumi-e is to experience the difference between appearance and truth.  Appearance can be obtained by shape alone, but when truth grasps the chi, or life spirit of the subject.  In sumi-e  it is more important to capture the inner nature of the subject than to reproduce its exact outward form.

The philosophy of sumi-e entails both contrast and harmony. The yin/yang symbol with a light dot in the dark section, and a dark dot in the light section,  represents the perfectly balanced interchange of  two dynamically opposed forces of the universe;  the dots represent integration of these two forces.  The balance and integration of these forces, and the eternal interaction of Yin and Yang are the ultimate goal of sumi-e.



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