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Re: [SCA-JML] Tenkoku

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  • Elaine Koogler
    I know that the Chinese used what are termed the great seal characters for their seals. These are not just squared off characters/kanji, but rather an
    Message 1 of 29 , Jan 20, 2003
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      I know that the Chinese used what are termed the "great seal characters" for their seals. These are not just squared off characters/kanji, but rather an archaic form of their written language. You can see excellent examples of them if you can locate pictures of the bottoms of some of the early bronzes. I don't know, but my suspicion is that, as the Japanese frequently adopted Chinese culture wholesale, that this could be the case here as well.

      Kiri
      ----- Original Message -----
      From: Debbie Strub
      To: sca-jml@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Friday, January 17, 2003 10:04 PM
      Subject: Re: [SCA-JML] Tenkoku


      I do know that it's much older than Kanji and is still used nowadays
      exclusively for seals. One site implied that it was just kanji characters
      that were rendered in a more linear or squared off fashion to make them
      easier to carve. I may have to do just that and fake it with kanji.

      YIS,

      Tsuruko

      At 03:44 PM 1/17/2003 -0900, Ii Saburou wrote:
      >Regrettably, no.
      >
      >You may want to research the seals--find the characters that you want (or
      >even characters with the elements you want), and look to see how they are
      >put together.
      >
      >I would also recommend looking into differences between modern and ancient
      >seals--I'm not sure what changes may have happened, but it might be a good
      >thing to look into.
      >
      >-Ii
      >
      >On Fri, 17 Jan 2003, Debbie Strub wrote:
      >
      > > Greetings,
      > >
      > > I'm researching Japanese seals with the intent of making one for
      > myself to
      > > "sign" Baronial scrolls. Does anyone know where I can find information on
      > > writing the Tensho script? I've done some internet research and found
      > lots
      > > of places that will make one for me but I want to make it myself. Any
      > ideas?
      > >
      > > YIS,
      > >
      > > Murakami Tsuruko
      > > Baroness of Dragon's Laire
      > > Kingdom of An Tir
      > >
      > > (and lurker on the list)
      > >
      > >
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      > >
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      > >
      > >
      >
      >
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      >
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    • Elaine Koogler
      Again, as I m not really familiar with Japanese seals, I m not sure I m on firm ground here. However, if the Japanese seals follow the way the Chinese seals
      Message 2 of 29 , Jan 20, 2003
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        Again, as I'm not really familiar with Japanese seals, I'm not sure I'm on firm ground here. However, if the Japanese seals follow the way the Chinese seals were made, they were usually composed of great seal characters carved into soapstone, almost like a stamp. So what you get when you print it is the characters voided.

        Kiri
        ----- Original Message -----
        From: Ii Saburou
        To: sca-jml@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Friday, January 17, 2003 11:14 PM
        Subject: Re: [SCA-JML] Tenkoku


        On Fri, 17 Jan 2003, Debbie Strub wrote:

        > I do know that it's much older than Kanji and is still used nowadays
        > exclusively for seals. One site implied that it was just kanji characters
        > that were rendered in a more linear or squared off fashion to make them
        > easier to carve. I may have to do just that and fake it with kanji.

        Well, they are kanji (Chinese characters) so it can't really be 'older
        than Kanji'--but I do believe they often use older versions.

        Actually, you will notice many different ways of writing Chinese
        characters. Seals, swords, brush calligraphy, chiseled characters--I took
        some pictures of some of the characters I found on stones at Nagoya
        castle, built in the 17th century, which you can find at:
        http://modzer0.cs.uaf.edu/~logan/pictures/ishiji5bg.JPG (there is also a
        '6', '7', and '8')

        Note: These are not examples of how characters would necessarily appear on
        seals, just an example of the type of 'signature' people created out of
        kanji characters.

        There does seem to be a specific style of writing used in seals. I
        believe that they do something with modern seals, though--there are
        generic seals that just have common names that anyone can buy, but then
        there are personal seals which are supposed to be unique to each person,
        and what they do to ensure it is unique, I'm not sure. I'm also not sure
        if that was something that they worried about quite as much in period;
        possibly it was enough that it was handmade and therefore very difficult
        to duplicate.

        Solveig does point out a good distinction you should make--whether you
        want a seal that leaves the characters voided or prints them with the ink.
        Basically, are you cutting into the seal, leaving the characters white on
        red, or are you curring out the seal, leaving the characters red on white.

        Let us all know how it turns out!

        -Ii


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      • Elaine Koogler
        there are also some nuts...can t remember the name, but it s something like takua nut or along those lines, that s being used for carving/scrimshaw/etc as it
        Message 3 of 29 , Jan 20, 2003
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          there are also some nuts...can't remember the name, but it's something like takua nut or along those lines, that's being used for carving/scrimshaw/etc as it mimics ivory, but is a vegetable rather than coming from an animal. I'm not sure how well it would work...i.e., it might be too porous to work well.

          Kiri
          ----- Original Message -----
          From: James Eckman
          To: sca-jml@yahoogroups.com
          Sent: Saturday, January 18, 2003 8:41 AM
          Subject: [SCA-JML] Re: Tenkoku


          sca-jml@yahoogroups.com wrote:

          > From: Debbie Strub <tsuruko@...>
          >
          > I'm researching Japanese seals with the intent of making one for myself to
          >"sign" Baronial scrolls. Does anyone know where I can find information on
          >writing the Tensho script? I've done some internet research and found lots
          >of places that will make one for me but I want to make it myself. Any ideas?
          >
          >
          I don't know of any places that have such a thing on-line but here's a
          few links to get started.
          http://pages.prodigy.net/fugu/sumi.html
          http://www.zhongwen.com/

          Seal carving's not that difficult other than designing the actual seal,
          I do remember a website that showed how to do it and in San Francisco at
          least you can buy blank seals at many stores.

          > From: Ii Saburou <logan@...>
          >
          >I would also recommend looking into differences between modern and ancient
          >seals--I'm not sure what changes may have happened, but it might be a good
          >thing to look into.
          >
          >
          There are changes, but some people continue using the more archaic
          styles as well so there are character dictionaries for drawing them
          available as books. Note, I've never seen that info on line so pass on
          any links you find!

          > From: Solveig <nostrand@...>
          >Subject: Re: Tenkoku
          >
          >Noble Cousin!
          >
          >Greetings from Solveig! Seals are interesting. Some old seals produce
          >impressions exhibiting mirror writing. Seals in general are eith deko
          >or boko depending on whether it produces a positive or negative image.
          >I believe that positive seals are prefered for attesting documents.
          >
          I don't know what the ancient customs for that are, but I've seen both
          used for recent items.

          >I have a Japanese book on how to carve inkan. Originally, I carved them
          >out of stone and have the correct tools for doing so. However, a friend
          >warned me of silicosis
          >
          I can't imagine getting silicosis if you are using a seal carving knife,
          the pieces that are carved off are way too big. I don't recommend dremel
          tools unless you are really good with them and then I would use a mask.

          >and I switched to wood years ago. Seals were
          >commonly made out of metal, ivory, wood, and stone.
          >
          >
          You can cheat and use linoleum as well! Easily available at places like
          Micheals. Please don't buy new ivory for carving. You could try Corian
          scraps as an ivory replacement if you wanted that look.

          Also note that most seal ink is highly toxic, don't leave it around
          small children!

          Jim Eckman


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        • Solveig
          Noble Cousin! Greetings from Solveig! It sure does look like a chisel regardless of how you weild it. Besides, Japanese saws work backwards from European saws,
          Message 4 of 29 , Jan 20, 2003
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            Noble Cousin!

            Greetings from Solveig! It sure does look like a chisel regardless
            of how you weild it. Besides, Japanese saws work backwards from
            European saws, but nobody has any problems calling both of them
            saws.

            You are talking about the thing for carving rock aren't you? Not
            the thing for carving wood? I have both.

            Yes. There are several ryuha for calligraphy. The one I belong to
            publishes montly ratings in their magazine.
            --

            Your Humble Servant
            Solveig Throndardottir
            Amateur Scholar

            +----------------------------------------------------------------------+
            | Barbara Nostrand, Ph.D. | Solveig Throndardottir, CoM, CoS |
            | deMoivre Institute | Carolingia Statis Mentis Est |
            | mailto:nostrand@... | mailto:bnostran@... |
            +----------------------------------------------------------------------+
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          • BamboOni@aol.com
            In a message dated 1/20/2003 9:46:26 AM Eastern Standard Time, ... They are called Tagua nuts. And if polished right you can t tell the difference between them
            Message 5 of 29 , Jan 21, 2003
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              In a message dated 1/20/2003 9:46:26 AM Eastern Standard Time,
              ekoogler1@... writes:

              > there are also some nuts...can't remember the name, but it's something like
              > takua nut or along those lines, that's being used for carving/scrimshaw/etc
              > as it mimics ivory, but is a vegetable rather than coming from an animal.
              > I'm not sure how well it would work...i.e., it might be too porous to work
              > well.
              >

              They are called Tagua nuts. And if polished right you can't tell the
              difference between them and ivory(unless your an expert) :)


              Takebayashi Genpachi

              'Only the bamboo knows the pure breeze'
              Zen Master Nanrei Kobori-roshi


              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • James Eckman
              ... Yes, they have they are the much older forms. Quite artistic in their own way. ... They use it nowadays, but I m clueless about historical usage. ... They
              Message 6 of 29 , Jan 21, 2003
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                >
                >
                > From: Elaine Koogler <ekoogler1@...>
                >
                >
                >These are not just squared off characters/kanji, but rather an archaic form of their written language.
                >
                Yes, they have they are the much older forms. Quite artistic in their
                own way.

                >I don't know, but my suspicion is that, as the Japanese frequently adopted Chinese culture wholesale, that this could be the case here as well.
                >
                >
                They use it nowadays, but I'm clueless about historical usage.

                > Sent: Friday, January 17, 2003 10:04 PM
                > Subject: Re: [SCA-JML] Tenkoku
                >
                >
                > I do know that it's much older than Kanji and is still used nowadays
                > exclusively for seals. One site implied that it was just kanji characters
                > that were rendered in a more linear or squared off fashion to make them
                > easier to carve. I may have to do just that and fake it with kanji.
                >
                >
                They were carved originally on oracle bones and the like. This is pre-paper.

                > From: Elaine Koogler <ekoogler1@...>
                >Subject: Re: Re: Tenkoku
                >
                >there are also some nuts...can't remember the name, but it's something like takua nut
                >
                Tagua.

                >or along those lines, that's being used for carving/scrimshaw/etc as it mimics ivory, but is a vegetable rather than coming from an animal. I'm not sure how well it would work...i.e., it might be too porous to work well.
                >
                >
                I have some, but I haven't used them for seals, they tend to be small
                though. They aren't very porous, available from some woodworking dealers.

                Jim Eckman
              • Park McKellop
                I bet the nuts are easier to chew. :-) Are they edible? Alcyoneus BamboOni@aol.com wrote:They are called Tagua nuts. And if polished right you can t tell the
                Message 7 of 29 , Jan 21, 2003
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                  I bet the nuts are easier to chew. :-) Are they edible?
                  Alcyoneus
                  BamboOni@... wrote:They are called Tagua nuts. And if polished right you can't tell the
                  difference between them and ivory(unless your an expert) :)


                  Takebayashi Genpachi

                  'Only the bamboo knows the pure breeze'
                  Zen Master Nanrei Kobori-roshi



                  ---------------------------------
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                • Anthony J. Bryant
                  ... I m reminded of the fact that Nobunaga s kao was a highly calligled and sylized kirin (as in, the mythical beast). The first time I saw it and was told
                  Message 8 of 29 , Jan 21, 2003
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                    Solveig wrote:

                    >
                    > Yes. You should devise a kao which is more of a monogram than what you might
                    > think of as a signature. Imagine writing your name in a sousho style script
                    > with all of the letters on top of each other in one place.
                    >

                    I'm reminded of the fact that Nobunaga's kao was a highly calligled and sylized
                    "kirin" (as in, the mythical beast). The first time I saw it and was told what
                    it was, I remember asking, "you're sure it doesn't read 'Rorschach'?"
                    <G>

                    Effingham






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                  • Anthony J. Bryant
                    ... There is no direct one-to-one assignment, I m afraid. The term shiten no byô is just a name given to the rivets -- individually, they haven t been
                    Message 9 of 29 , Jan 21, 2003
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                      "Yama Kaminari no Date Saburou Yukiie " wrote:

                      > Greetings to all from Yama Kaminari no Date Saburou Yukiie,
                      > Those of us who make Japanese style armor are familiar with four
                      > little rivit combos called "shi ten byo" or sometimes "she ten no byo"
                      > on the hachi of a kabuto.
                      > I am familiar with the names of the four Deva kings from Buddhism that
                      > these refer to, but I do not know which one is which on the hachi, if
                      > indeed the assignment has been made. Perhaps Baron Edward, or one of
                      > the other armor-familiar might be able to help.

                      There is no direct one-to-one assignment, I'm afraid. The term "shiten no
                      byô" is just a name given to the rivets -- individually, they haven't been
                      designated one or the other.

                      Sorry. <G>

                      Effingham
                    • Yama Kaminari no Date Saburou Yukiie <ka
                      Domo, Baron Effingham, I suspected as much, but always wondered... Date ... shiten no ... haven t been
                      Message 10 of 29 , Jan 22, 2003
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                        Domo, Baron Effingham,
                        I suspected as much, but always wondered...

                        Date

                        >
                        > There is no direct one-to-one assignment, I'm afraid. The term
                        "shiten no
                        > byô" is just a name given to the rivets -- individually, they
                        haven't been
                        > designated one or the other.
                        >
                        > Sorry. <G>
                        >
                        > Effingham
                      • James Eckman
                        ... Only if you have stainless steel teeth and jaw muscles of a bulldog. ... Rule of thumb for Chinese/Japanese calligraphy, the more artistic, the less
                        Message 11 of 29 , Jan 22, 2003
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                          >
                          >
                          > From: BamboOni@...
                          >
                          >
                          > From: Park McKellop <squire009@...>
                          >I bet the nuts are easier to chew. :-)
                          >
                          Only if you have stainless steel teeth and jaw muscles of a bulldog.

                          > From: "Anthony J. Bryant" <ajbryant@...>
                          >
                          >
                          >I'm reminded of the fact that Nobunaga's kao was a highly calligled and sylized
                          >"kirin" (as in, the mythical beast). The first time I saw it and was told what
                          >it was, I remember asking, "you're sure it doesn't read 'Rorschach'?"
                          ><G>
                          >
                          >
                          Rule of thumb for Chinese/Japanese calligraphy, the more artistic, the
                          less readable ;)

                          > From: Solveig <nostrand@...>
                          >
                          >Greetings from Solveig! It sure does look like a chisel regardless
                          >of how you weild it. Besides, Japanese saws work backwards from
                          >European saws, but nobody has any problems calling both of them
                          >saws.
                          >
                          >You are talking about the thing for carving rock aren't you? Not
                          >the thing for carving wood? I have both.
                          >
                          >
                          Yes, I'm talking about the one for rock which looks like a chisel but
                          you don't push it, you slice/carve with it. You can call it whatever,
                          but the people at the stores will call it a knife and probably don't
                          understand what a chisel is. English is not a strong point among most of
                          these vendors and I don't know the Japanese/Chinese names for the tool.
                          I also have the wood carving tools and you do use the chisels as chisels
                          then.

                          >Yes. There are several ryuha for calligraphy. The one I belong to
                          >publishes montly ratings in their magazine.
                          >
                          >
                          Are you taking one of the classes by mail from Japan? I had a classmate
                          that took those. She could draw them beautifully but couldn't read them.
                          What scripts are you studying? I'm lucky that I know multiple
                          calligraphy teachers! I can get help in person, which is good because my
                          writing is not very good.

                          Jim Eckman
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