ENSO (Ougai Kofude)

N.1 painting on shikishi board
Period: twenty-first century
Condition: very good
Size: 24 x 27 cm



Refined shodo (書道) work by the master calligrapher Ougai Kofude (小筆凰外) depicting an enso (円相), that is a circle. The enso is perhaps the most common subject of Japanese calligraphy. It symbolizes illumination, strength, the universe. It is believed by many that the character of the artist is completely revealed by the way he designs this circle; moreover it is believed that only those who are mentally and spiritually complete can draw a true enso. Some artists draw an enso every day, like a sort of spiritual diary.

Some draw the enso with an opening in the circle, while others complete it. The opening could symbolize that this circle is not separate from the rest of things but is part of something bigger. The enso is a sacred symbol in Zen Buddhism and is often used by Zen masters as a signature in their works.

The work, made on a thick shikishi (色紙) format cardboard with golden edges, is in very good condition.