Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Tolkien and Oriental Calligraphy

Expand Messages
  • Doug Kane
    It has been pointed out to me that there is a striking similarity between Tolkien s monogram, and a character in the Chinese and Japanese alphebets. Here is a
    Message 1 of 6 , Jan 1, 2009
    View Source
    • 0 Attachment
      It has been pointed out to me that there is a striking similarity between Tolkien's monogram, and a character in the Chinese and Japanese alphebets. Here is a sample: http://www.mahou.org/Kanji/422B/.

      Does anyone know whether Tolkien ever demonstrated any knowledge of or interest in oriental languages, or specifically in oriental calligraphy? I know that (as Wayne and Christina say), he had from a very early age "an abiding interest in alphabets and scripts" but I've never heard that that interest extended to oriental languages. But my knowledge is woefully inadequate in this area. The similarity is probably just a coincidence, but it piqued my interest nonetheless. If anyone has any thoughts or information on the subject I'd be interested in hearing more.

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Wayne G. Hammond
      ... It s almost certainly a coincidence. Although Tolkien had an early liking for Japanese prints, we ve recorded no interest in or study of Chinese or
      Message 2 of 6 , Jan 6, 2009
      View Source
      • 0 Attachment
        Doug Kane wrote:

        >It has been pointed out to me that there is a striking similarity between
        >Tolkien's monogram, and a character in the Chinese and Japanese alphebets.
        >Here is a sample:
        ><http://www.mahou.org/Kanji/422B/.>http://www.mahou.org/Kanji/422B/.
        >
        >Does anyone know whether Tolkien ever demonstrated any knowledge of or
        >interest in oriental languages, or specifically in oriental calligraphy? I
        >know that (as Wayne and Christina say), he had from a very early age "an
        >abiding interest in alphabets and scripts" but I've never heard that that
        >interest extended to oriental languages. But my knowledge is woefully
        >inadequate in this area. The similarity is probably just a coincidence,
        >but it piqued my interest nonetheless. If anyone has any thoughts or
        >information on the subject I'd be interested in hearing more.

        It's almost certainly a coincidence. Although Tolkien had an early liking
        for Japanese prints, we've recorded no interest in or study of Chinese or
        Japanese (see the essay "Languages" in The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and
        Guide: Reader's Guide). Nor was it necessary: the idea of intertwining
        letters to form monograms (or ciphers) has a long history in the West, and
        Tolkien developed his now-familiar JRRT monogram after trying out a series
        of simpler versions.

        Wayne & Christina


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Doug Kane
        Thanks, Wayne and Christina! _____ From: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com [mailto:mythsoc@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Wayne G. Hammond Sent: Tuesday, January 06, 2009
        Message 3 of 6 , Jan 6, 2009
        View Source
        • 0 Attachment
          Thanks, Wayne and Christina!

          _____

          From: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com [mailto:mythsoc@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of
          Wayne G. Hammond
          Sent: Tuesday, January 06, 2009 7:35 PM
          To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: [Norton AntiSpam] Re: [mythsoc] Tolkien and Oriental Calligraphy



          Doug Kane wrote:

          >It has been pointed out to me that there is a striking similarity between
          >Tolkien's monogram, and a character in the Chinese and Japanese alphebets.
          >Here is a sample:
          ><http://www.mahou <http://www.mahou.org/Kanji/422B/.>
          org/Kanji/422B/.>http://www.mahou <http://www.mahou.org/Kanji/422B/.>
          org/Kanji/422B/.
          >
          >Does anyone know whether Tolkien ever demonstrated any knowledge of or
          >interest in oriental languages, or specifically in oriental calligraphy? I
          >know that (as Wayne and Christina say), he had from a very early age "an
          >abiding interest in alphabets and scripts" but I've never heard that that
          >interest extended to oriental languages. But my knowledge is woefully
          >inadequate in this area. The similarity is probably just a coincidence,
          >but it piqued my interest nonetheless. If anyone has any thoughts or
          >information on the subject I'd be interested in hearing more.

          It's almost certainly a coincidence. Although Tolkien had an early liking
          for Japanese prints, we've recorded no interest in or study of Chinese or
          Japanese (see the essay "Languages" in The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and
          Guide: Reader's Guide). Nor was it necessary: the idea of intertwining
          letters to form monograms (or ciphers) has a long history in the West, and
          Tolkien developed his now-familiar JRRT monogram after trying out a series
          of simpler versions.

          Wayne & Christina

          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]






          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Croft, Janet B.
          Actually, Tolkien s monogram reminds me very distantly of the signature symbols used by Aubrey Beardsley http://www.wormfood.com/savoy/salome/154.html (I know
          Message 4 of 6 , Jan 7, 2009
          View Source
          • 0 Attachment
            Actually, Tolkien's monogram reminds me very distantly of the signature symbols used by Aubrey Beardsley http://www.wormfood.com/savoy/salome/154.html (I know there are more examples but that's the best I found in a quick search online) and James Whistler http://www.mr-whistlers-art.info/art/design/exhibitions/signature.shtml - perhaps the influence was indirectly Oriental through these and similar artists? Or perhaps it went back to Albrecht Durer http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:AlbrechtD%C3%BCrer01.jpg ? Do we know if Tolkien had any appreciation of Beardsley? I looked in Wayne and Christina's book on Tolkien's art but the closest mention is a discussion of Tolkien's comments on surrealism in art in OFS.

            Janet


            From: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com [mailto:mythsoc@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Wayne G. Hammond
            Sent: Tuesday, January 06, 2009 9:35 PM
            To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Tolkien and Oriental Calligraphy


            Doug Kane wrote:

            >It has been pointed out to me that there is a striking similarity between
            >Tolkien's monogram, and a character in the Chinese and Japanese alphebets.
            >Here is a sample:
            ><http://www.mahou.org/Kanji/422B/.<http://www.mahou.org/Kanji/422B/>>http://www.mahou.org/Kanji/422B/.<http://www.mahou.org/Kanji/422B/>
            >
            >Does anyone know whether Tolkien ever demonstrated any knowledge of or
            >interest in oriental languages, or specifically in oriental calligraphy? I
            >know that (as Wayne and Christina say), he had from a very early age "an
            >abiding interest in alphabets and scripts" but I've never heard that that
            >interest extended to oriental languages. But my knowledge is woefully
            >inadequate in this area. The similarity is probably just a coincidence,
            >but it piqued my interest nonetheless. If anyone has any thoughts or
            >information on the subject I'd be interested in hearing more.

            It's almost certainly a coincidence. Although Tolkien had an early liking
            for Japanese prints, we've recorded no interest in or study of Chinese or
            Japanese (see the essay "Languages" in The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and
            Guide: Reader's Guide). Nor was it necessary: the idea of intertwining
            letters to form monograms (or ciphers) has a long history in the West, and
            Tolkien developed his now-familiar JRRT monogram after trying out a series
            of simpler versions.

            Wayne & Christina

            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Wayne G. Hammond
            ... I doubt that there was any Oriental influence on the monogram, direct or indirect. Tolkien s is unlike Beardsley s or Whistler s devices, but in the same
            Message 5 of 6 , Jan 8, 2009
            View Source
            • 0 Attachment
              Janet wrote:

              >Actually, Tolkien's monogram reminds me very distantly of the signature
              >symbols used by Aubrey Beardsley
              ><http://www.wormfood.com/savoy/salome/154.html>http://www.wormfood.com/savoy/salome/154.html
              >(I know there are more examples but that's the best I found in a quick
              >search online) and James Whistler
              ><http://www.mr-whistlers-art.info/art/design/exhibitions/signature.shtml>http://www.mr-whistlers-art.info/art/design/exhibitions/signature.shtml
              >- perhaps the influence was indirectly Oriental through these and similar
              >artists? Or perhaps it went back to Albrecht Durer
              ><http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:AlbrechtD%C3%BCrer01.jpg>http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:AlbrechtD%C3%BCrer01.jpg
              >? Do we know if Tolkien had any appreciation of Beardsley? I looked in
              >Wayne and Christina's book on Tolkien's art but the closest mention is a
              >discussion of Tolkien's comments on surrealism in art in OFS.

              I doubt that there was any Oriental influence on the monogram, direct or
              indirect. Tolkien's is unlike Beardsley's or Whistler's devices, but in the
              same long tradition as Durer's (if more elaborate). There's a small section
              on monograms in Edward Johnston's _Writing and Illuminating, and
              Lettering_, a book Tolkien owned.

              We've not recorded that Tolkien had any appreciation of Beardsley's work,
              but one never knows.

              Wayne


              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Croft, Janet B.
              Thanks - I m going to go take a look at it out of curiosity. Now the monogram I developed for myself back in high school is quite definitely inspired by
              Message 6 of 6 , Jan 9, 2009
              View Source
              • 0 Attachment
                Thanks - I'm going to go take a look at it out of curiosity. Now the monogram I developed for myself back in high school is quite definitely inspired by Tolkien's, no questions about it...

                Janet


                ...

                There's a small section
                on monograms in Edward Johnston's _Writing and Illuminating, and
                Lettering_, a book Tolkien owned.

                ...

                Wayne

                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.