With the lights out, it’s less dangerous🖤
With the lights out, it’s less dangerous🖤
To carry the past over to the present, to translate the movement of the present in terms of the past, destroys the living beauty of the present. This land is burdened with tradition, entrenched in high places and the village. There is nothing sacred about tradition, however ancient or modern. The brain carries the memory of yesterday, which is tradition, and is frightened to let go, because it cannot face something new. Tradition becomes our security, and when the mind is secure it is in decay. One must take the journey unburdened, sweetly, without any effort, never stopping at any shrine, at any monument, or for any hero, social or religious – alone with beauty and love. —Krishnamurti ⠀ From The Second Krishnamurti Reader ⠀ ⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ #osho #buddha #love #meditation #jiddukrishnamurti #celebration #consciousness #zen #freedom #nirvana #nature #universe #intimacy #india #intuition #death #divine #dance #awareness #awakening https://www.instagram.com/p/CUYil6IBRC4/?utm_medium=tumblr
Kurt Cobain mention. (*_*)
Pre-sales going on right now? #papasrockandrollparlor #randyrhoads #mastodon #heavymetalmovie #dreamtheater #volbeat #nirvana #primalscream #vinyl #vinyladdict https://www.instagram.com/p/CUYS4PoLN-I/?utm_medium=tumblr
Calligraphy is one of the highest Chinese art forms, and displaying calligraphy in your house is a common thing to do whether you’re an ancient scholar or modern Chinese person with disposable income. As both art and writing, calligraphy simultaneously expresses the meaning of its text and the spirit of the one wielding the brush; as decoration, it imbues the surrounding space with its style and helps you project a certain image of yourself to visitors. Let’s take a close look at all the Su Manor calligraphy in Nirvana in Fire.
Though the calligraphy shown above is probably the most memorable, there are actually a total of five pairs (ten total) of hanging scrolls of calligraphy in the main room of Su Manor, plus the entrance calligraphy to your right as you enter. Here’s a floor plan of the room that I’ve redrawn based on a Chinese fan-made floorplan to highlight where the calligraphy are located, pair A being the main pair (arrows indicate the side you view them from):
Let’s start with the simplest, the four-character entrance calligraphy mounted to the wall, as seen here in wide view relative to the right scroll of Pair A and as a close-up:
If you’re unfamiliar with ancient Chinese writing, it’s read top-to-bottom then right-to-left (Mainland China writing is nearly all left-to-right, top-to-down now, while Taiwanese and Hong Kong print are still mostly in the original orientation). These four characters, 上善若水, is a quote from Laozi, the founder of Daoism, in the foundational text Dao De Jing. The literal meaning is “Water is the highest form of being.” This is meant as an adage for how one should conduct oneself. The next few lines in the Dao De Jing explains it further: water provides for every living thing but doesn’t fight with any; water settles in places disliked by people, so it is close to the way of Dao. One should strive to be like water, content to be humble, to be of reserved character, to be kind to your friends, to speak as honestly as water is, to govern as orderly as water flows, to be as capable as water is, and to wait for the correct opportunity to make one’s move, like water. Only those who are non-confrontational like water will be free of worries (水善利万物而不争，处众人之所恶，故几于道。居善地，心善渊，与善仁，言善信，政善治，事善能，动善时。夫唯不争，故无尤). Mei Changsu is projecting an image of himself as a scholar striving toward Daoist and Confucian ideals, so it definitely makes sense that he would have something like this on his wall (not saying that he wasn’t actually striving for some of those ideals himself, either, but that’s more of a topic for another time).
Now, for the writing itself. This is a good time to mention that there are multiple distinct scripts in Chinese history (more on this later), and these four characters are written in a hybrid style borrowing from seal script (篆书; seal meaning engraving and not the animal) and clerical script (隶书), two of the oldest styles after the very ancient oracle bones script. During the Northern and Southern Dynasties, which NiF is loosely set in, seal script had already been largely reduced to ceremonial and decorative purposes (like all the overhead building signs you see in the show), and clerical script was a popular style of writing (many street banners and writing samples in the show were in this).
So here are the four characters compared to typical seal and clerical script characters from fonts (I say typical because these renderings have been popularized enough to become standard font sets in these scripts, but there are many variations and no one “true” way to write these characters), plus real samples of ancient handwriting that show some of the many extant variants:
These samples are from shufa.supfree.net and humanum.arts.cuhk.edu.hk/Lexis/lexi-mf, two great sites for ancient calligraphy. Some things to note:
Good/善 and water/水 are relatively closer to clerical script while the other two characters are closer to seal script, but because clerical script evolved from seal script, there is a lot of overlap in its early forms with seal script, and the transition isn’t sharply defined.
Clerical script looks so much wider and shorter than seal script (and other scripts, too): that’s not me stretching pictures for no good reason—a popular explanation is that it was due to clerical script originating from writing seal script quickly with a brush on bamboo slips, and the texture of bamboo fibers led to the distinctive head and tails of the horizontal strokes as well as shorter vertical strokes.
Though I’m by no means an expert, I agree with the author of an excellent blog post on NiF calligraphy  that this calligraphy really doesn’t look very good. The strokes are crooked and sloppy in unsatisfying ways and the widths vary for no apparent reason. They’re neither like standard clerical script strokes, with the classic rounded and strong head and tapering flared tail (蚕头雁尾), nor standard seal script strokes, which should be balanced and of uniform width and strength. Most of the real samples look noticeably better to me.
Of course, rules are made to be broken, but when you’ve seen enough you get a sense of what’s convincing as a personal style, and what’s not. I have to imagine that Feiliu wrote this while Mei Changsu held his hand or something, and maybe that’s why Su-gege would prominently display this writing.
The hanging scrolls
The calligraphy on the hanging translucent gauze scrolls are all written in cursive script (草书), which is infamously wild and difficult to read if you don’t know what you’re doing (like me). The author of  comes to the rescue by saying this is an imitation (临本) of 《自叙贴》, which basically means “autobiographical note calligraphy.” It was written by by Tang Dynasty monk and calligrapher Huaisu (怀素; his name is romanized like this because Huai isn’t his family name—Huaisu, taken together, is his monk name) around 777 CE and is one of the most renowned pieces of cursive calligraphy in history.
(An aside on imitations: It’s quite common to do calligraphy in the style of a great master in order to refine one’s own calligraphy and to gain new insights and appreciation on the original, both in the past and present. There’s no pejorative sense to this kind of imitation unlike what the word might carry in English.)
So here’s the original—one long horizontal scroll that I’ve chopped up into four pieces given the limited page width (go to Wikipedia for the high-res version):
Some things of note:
The actual calligraphy by Huaisu is in the drawn red box, but it only takes up about half of the scroll because there are also extensive sections written in other scripts, not by him—these are prefaces and endnotes (题跋) by later collectors. The four giant seal script characters at the start (top rightmost) of the scroll is by a later calligrapher and says 藏真自序, 藏真 being Huaisu’s courtesy name and 自序 means autobiographical note (it’s a synonym for 自叙). It’s part of traditional Chinese art appreciation for the collector to add to a piece of good art with their own comments, which range from a simple note of name and date to analysis and admiration of the work, sometimes having great literary value in their own right. There are also a ton of stamps (印跋) from different collectors, including emperors, so as to leave their mark. You can tell from the massive number of stamps and notes alone that this is a highly esteemed work of art that passed through many admiring hands.
The calligraphy is in wild cursive (狂草) script, the most unrestrained class of cursive script, one where the writer should be in a fervent, passionate flow state to create an unbridled expression of one’s inner spirit; in highly stylized scripts, this transmission of the creator’s inner mind and emotions to the reader is often more important than what the characters themselves say. Some of the hallmarks of wild cursive that you can see here: hugely varying character sizes and spacings, idiosyncratic ways of writing characters, and characters very connected to each other. Being able to write many characters in one continuous stroke (一笔书) is a state of creativity held in high esteem, like the common expression “to create with one single exhale” (一气呵成). A good piece of cursive calligraphy should show moments of calm amid the dynamism and order in its chaos.
Like the vast majority of calligraphy and ancient writing, there’s no punctuation or breaks. Classical Chinese has certain characters that act as function words (虚词) to indicate where breaks occur. Though Chinese writing is usually punctuated nowadays, modern calligraphy, as a continuation of an ancient art, is still generally not.
There’s some controversy over whether any of the surviving scrolls (there are several copies) are the actual calligraphy by Huaisu himself; many believe that the original is lost, and what we think of as 《自叙贴》 is an imitation by a Song Dynasty calligrapher. Even if so, it’s still a highly esteemed work of art.
Let’s start with Pair A, the most prominently displayed and therefore easiest to figure out. Here’s a full view of the right scroll in episode 18:
Here it is cleaned up and put next to the original calligraphy it corresponds to:
The first line of the scroll on the right starts at the top of one of Huaisu’s lines, but the other lines are broken differently because they’re obviously two differently dimensioned surfaces, and the imitation also ends in the middle of one of Huaisu’s lines.
This is what the three lines say in Traditional Chinese, written left-to-right, up-to-down instead of up-to-down, right-to-left (we’ll get to the meaning later once we find out what all the scrolls):
形恠狀翻合宜人人欲問此 中妙懷素自言初不知語疾 速則有竇御史冀雲粉壁
The last line has one fewer character—as I mentioned above, cursive calligraphy is about expressing your inner spirit and not about making sure the number of characters in each line is consistent, though these lines in the imitation are much more consistent in character size and number than the original.
Now let’s take a closer look at the calligraphy, focusing on the first line of the imitation. Here’s a comparison of the Huaisu original, what’s on the hanging scroll, and the other four main calligraphy scripts:
I chose this order because it’s the commonly accepted order of these scripts being developed: seal, clerical, cursive, regular, and semi-cursive (篆、隶、草、楷、行). Although technically semi-cursive derived from clerical and originated before regular, it wasn’t in wide use until later.
Some things to note:
The one big difference in style is how Huaisu often wrote with a dry brush, but the imitator didn’t. For beginner calligraphers, it’s usually considered important to always load your brush properly so you always have nice full ink. But Huaisu is a calligraphy master, and the dry brush is a deliberate artistic choice that adds to the forceful feeling, as well as a consequence of wanting to preserve the flow of writing many characters in a row and not pausing to load the brush. While there are gradations in ink shade in the imitation, they’re hard to see in normal lightning without all the adjustments in Photoshop.
If you’re curious why 人人 is written 人 and then two dots, in calligraphy you can write the second character of two repeated characters as two dots if they form a doubled phrase together, as is the case here (not sure what the two dots in 此 is supposed to be in the imitation—there are no dots in the character).
It’s not as obvious in this example, but the imitation is less connected than Huaisu’s calligraphy, but losing to one of the greatest master calligraphers in history is not something to feel bad over.
I made this comparison to stress that cursive script isn’t different from modern typography because it’s old, but because it’s an artistic style; other forms of writing with thousands of years of history, developed before and after cursive, are much more similar to modern typeface and readable to modern eyes without training. One of the wonderful things about Chinese is how you can easily read a lot of writing from over two thousand years ago (though understanding the meaning is much harder!).
Now, on to the other pairs, which are all thankfully imitations of the same work. These are more difficult to find since they show up infrequently and at inconvenient angles. This scene in episode 34 is one of the few that shows the top of pair B clearly and the bottom portion of pair A, left scroll (and also a rare occasion of Mei Changsu using the couch):
With this view, I can figure out the excerpt corresponding to the left pair A scroll:
間興來小豁胸中氣忽然絕 叫三五聲滿壁縱橫千萬字 戴公又雲馳豪驟墨列奔駟
From some other partial views and the reasonable assumption that these line are continuous portions of the original, with no characters omitted, the Pair B right scroll says:
向使師得親承善誘函挹規 模則入室之賓捨子奚適嗟 嘆不足聊書此以冠諸篇首 (this end might be a character off, I couldn’t find a view of it)
似則有張禮部雲奔蛇走虺 勢入座驟雨旋風聲滿堂盧 員外雲初疑輕煙澹古松又 (again, end is uncertain here)
Here’s the new years scene in episode 14, with pair C shown in the back:
From looking at that and some other partial views, I get for the right:
其筆力勖以有成今禮部侍 郎張公謂賞其不羈引以游 處兼好事者同作歌以贊之 (end uncertain)
代杜度崔瑗始以妙聞迨乎伯 英尤擅其美羲獻茲降虞陸相 承口訣手授以至於吳郡張旭 (end uncertain)
Pair D can be seen in episode 18, after the housewarming party:
懷素家長沙幼而事佛經 禪之暇頗好筆翰然恨未能 遠覩前人之奇跡所見甚淺 (end uncertain)
錯綜其事遺編絕簡往往 遇之豁然心胸略無疑滯魚 箋絹素多所塵點士大夫不 (end uncertain)
Pair E is the most elusive, and besides some views where it’s fluttering in the background, I could only find any of its text in the same episode 34 scene as above, but unfortunately extremely blurry. I was about to give up and post this anyways, but then I tried a deblurring tool, and what do you know:
The left is the original screenshot from the show, and the right isn’t the best example of deblurring, but you can see how the characters are much clearer now and I can make out key characters like 故 and 英.
(An aside on deblurring, as if we haven’t had enough asides: you can think of an out-of-focus blur as a transformation that takes each bit of focused light from the original source and spreads it by the rules of optics. If these bits of light were randomly smeared out, it would be hard for us to recover anything sensible. But because the rules of optics at human-level scales apply the same way to each ray of light, and we know what they are thanks to millennia of science and math, we can recover the original information if we guess that transformation correctly and apply the inverse. The foreground, which was in focus before, is distorted from said transformation. The author of the deblurring tool I used has a good blog post on this.)
From a lot of fiddling with the tool and squinting:
Pair E left:
詩故敘之曰開士懷素僧中 之英氣概通疏性靈豁暢 精心草聖積有歲時江嶺之 (end uncertain)
Pair E right is the one I’m least sure about. I think the first character might be 開, but the other visible characters don’t seem match the corresponding excerpt, and it wouldn’t be next to the left scroll on the original like the other pairs are. I did also watch various behind the scenes Su Manor footage, but none showed clearer views of the scrolls. Rather than risk misidentifying it, I’ll leave it as an unsolved mystery for now.
Here’s Huaisu’s original again (ignoring all the pre- and postscripts), with the portions that have been imitated for the hanging scrolls highlighted:
And here’s the full text of the original with each of the scrolls labeled. As with most Classical Chinese texts, the punctuation was added by modern scholars because it would be quite hard to read otherwise. The full text is also one of the notes written on the end of the original scroll itself in regular script (but without punctuation):
[D-right 懷素家長沙，幼而事佛，經禪之暇，頗好筆翰。然恨未能遠覩前人之奇跡，所見甚淺]。遂擔笈杖錫，西游上國，謁見當代名公。[D-left 錯綜其事。遺編絕簡，往往遇之。豁然心胸，略無疑滯，魚箋絹素，多所塵點，士大夫不]以為怪焉。顏刑部，書家者流，精極筆法，水鏡之辨，許在末行。又以尚書司勳郎盧象、小宗伯張正言，曾為歌[E-left 詩，故敘之曰：“開士懷素，僧中之英，氣概通疏，性靈豁暢，精心草聖。積有歲時，江嶺之]間，其名大著。故吏部侍郎韋公陟，覩[C-right其筆力。勖以有成。今禮部侍郎張公謂賞其不羈，引以游處。兼好事者，同作歌以贊之]，動盈捲軸。夫草稿之作，起於漢[C-left 代，杜度、崔瑗，始以妙聞。迨乎伯英，尤擅其美。羲獻茲降，虞陸相承，口訣手授。以至於吳郡張旭]長史，雖姿性顛逸，超絕古今，而模楷精法詳，特為真正。真卿早歲，常接游居，屢蒙激昂，教以；筆法，資質劣弱，又嬰物務，不能懇習，迄以無成。追思一言，何可復得。忽見師作，縱橫不群，迅疾駭人。若還舊觀，[B-right 向使師得親承善誘，函挹規模，則入室之賓，捨子奚適。嗟嘆不足，聊書此，以冠諸篇首]。」其後繼作不絕，溢乎箱篋。其述形[B-left 似，則有張禮部雲：「奔蛇走虺勢入座，驟雨旋風聲滿堂。」盧員外雲：「初疑輕煙澹古松，又]似山開萬仞峰。」王永州邕曰：「寒猿飲水撼枯藤，壯士拔山伸勁鐵。」朱處士遙雲：「筆下唯看激電流，字成只畏盤龍走。」敘機格，則有李御史舟雲：「昔張旭之作也，時人謂之張顛，今懷素之為也，余實謂之狂僧。以狂繼顛，誰曰不可。」張公又雲：「稽山賀老總知名，吳郡張顛曾不易。」許御史瑝雲：「志在新奇無定則，古瘦灕驪半無墨，醉來信手兩三行，醒後卻書書不得。」戴御史叔倫雲：「心手相師勢轉奇，詭[A-right 形怪狀翻合宜。人人欲問此中妙，懷素自言初不知。」語疾速，則有竇御史冀雲：「粉壁]長廊數十[A-left 間，興來小豁胸中氣。忽然絕叫三五聲，滿壁縱橫千萬字。」戴公又雲：「馳毫驟墨列奔駟]，滿座失聲看不及。」目愚劣，則有從父司勳員外郎吳興錢起詩雲：「遠錫無前侶，孤雲寄太虛。狂來輕世界，醉里得真如。」皆辭旨激切，理識玄奧，固非虛蕩之所敢當，徒增愧畏耳。時大歷丁已冬十月廿有八日。
These fragments often start and stop at the middle of phrases and don’t have coherent meaning on their own, but that makes total sense once you realize the calligrapher started each scroll at one of the start of the lines in the original.
What does it mean?
As I mentioned, the calligraphy itself is the more valuable part of this writing, not what the words mean themselves. There are some famous pieces of calligraphy that are also original poetry or prose of high literary value, but this isn’t really known as one of those. But we can’t come so far and not talk about the meaning!
Here’s my translation (consulting , , ,  for the translation from Classical to modern Chinese) with the portions on the scrolls roughly bolded:
Huaisu is from Changsha and a devout Buddhist since young. When not reciting scripture or meditating, I have a keen interest in calligraphy. I regret not being able to see the marvelous calligraphy works of past masters with my own eyes—what I’ve been able to see is quite limited. And so I took up my book chest and monk’s staff to the west to journey to the capital. I visited with famous contemporary scholars and discussed the intricate art of calligraphy with them, and was able to see many classic pieces that had been difficult to view before. Now my mind is expanded and uncertainties reduced. Though my calligraphy has many parts crude and unsightly, the scholar officials did not object to it.
Yan Zhenqing of the Ministry of Justice is a renowned calligrapher—his brush is masterful, as are his calligrapher appreciation skills, like the endnote he wrote for my calligraphy. In addition, because the Bureau Official Lu Xiang and Minister Zhang Zhengyan (courtesy name of Zhang Wei), once wrote a poem set to song for me, Yan wrote this preface for it:
“The eminent monk Huaisu is outstanding among his peers. His character is wise and frank, his disposition clear and free. He has admired and imitated the absolute masters of cursive calligraphy for years now, and is famous from the Yangtze River to the Five Ridges. The former Deputy Minister of Personnel Wei Zhi saw Huaisu’s strokes and added encouragement, saying that it is accomplished; the current Deputy Minister of Rites, Zhang Wei, appreciates Huaisu’s wild spirit, associates with him, and introduces him to others. In addition, famous poets who love calligraphy also wrote poems to praise him that often filled whole scrolls.
Cursive calligraphy originated in the Han Dynasty. Du Du and Cui Yuan brought it to an art form; then in late Han, Zhang Boying’s calligraphy stood out among many with its unique beauty. Afterwards there was the father and son Wang Yizhi and Wang Xianzhi who continued the cursive tradition, then inherited by Yu Shinan and Lu Jianzhi in the Tang Dynasty, who not only passed down the oral tradition but taught calligraphy hands on. This continued to Official Zhang Xu of Wu County. Although he’s self-indulgent and headstrong, his wildness and unrestrainedness unsurpassed by others past or present, the method of his brush is and his calligraphy are good enough as models, his way with the brush meticulous and of the highest purity. Zhenqing often associated with him and learned from him as my calligraphy master when young, but my disposition was poor and I was busy with other affairs, causing me to not learn seriously, achieving nothing as a result. Now I wish I could have his instruction again, but it is too late.
Then I saw Huaisu’s cursive calligraphy and it reminded me of my late master’s, how its strokes are bold and unusual, the brush speed astonishingly fast. If we can go back to the past, and this master monk can receive instruction from my late master, then no one would be more suited to reaching the highest level of the art. I can’t quite express my feelings, and so I wrote down these words as a preface for now.”
After this, many words of praise were written, enough to overflow the book chest.
In these include what Minister Zhang of Rites said: “His brush is like a wild venomous snake running in the grass, or like wind and rain suddenly descending upon the room, the whole house echoing its sound.”
Official Lu said, “At first, light smoke shaking millennia-old pine trees, and then, ten thousand knife edges of mountain peaks.”
Wang Yong of Yongzhou said: “Like the withered vines shaken by winter apes while drinking water, like the strong man heaving metal in the mountains.”
Scholar Zhu Yao said: “The touch of brush to paper is like lightning and thunder, flowing ceaselessly; when the character is complete, it flies away like an awe-inspiring dragon.”
For evaluations of my personality and style, there is the Imperial Censor Li Zhou who said: “When Zhang Xu did calligraphy, people called him the mad Zhang. Now Huaisu does calligraphy, and I want to call him the wild monk. Who says ‘wild’ can’t be the successor to ‘mad’?”
Minister Zhang also said, “He Zhizhang of Mount Ji was once famous for his calligraphy, and the mad Zhang was also impressive in his style.”
Imperial Censor Xu Huang said, “If one seeks originality, one cannot be bound by rigid rules. Thin characters are like a parched stream, a brush without ink. Two or three lines written while drunk cannot be replicated when sober.”
Imperial Censor Dai Shulun said, “The hand is led by the heart. This calligraphy is novel, the shapes strange but unexpectedly appropriate. Everyone wants to know its secrets, but Huaisu himself says he can’t explain it, either.”
For evaluations of my calligraphy speed, there are these examples. Imperial Censor Dou Ji wrote this poem, “Across white walls of a colonnade, when in the proper spirited state, he can cry out three or five times and fill tens of walls with thousands of characters.”
Minister Dai also said, “His brush races like a galloping horse, the whole room exclaiming over its impossible speed.”
For evaluations that criticize me for being foolish and inferior, there is my uncle and official, Qian Qi, who said, “You are a lone crane flying far without a companion, a singular cloud in the empty skies. In your wildness you scorn the entire world, but you obtain true understanding in your drunkenness.”
These are all profound words of encouragement that someone superficial like me obviously doesn’t deserve. I only feel more guilt and dread from them.
Written the 54th calendar year, winter, 28th day of the 10th month.
Serious props if you actually read through all that. The short version would be: I, Huaisu, am a humble monk and poor calligrapher, but here are a lot of quotes from these other cool people who say I’m an amazing calligrapher. I don’t deserve the praise, of course.
Have another bulleted list:
There are multiple points of contention in the passage among the translators to modern Chinese, some over the identification of individual characters and some over the meaning. In particular, Classical Chinese being very concise and often dropping subjects makes it hard to tell who the sentences are referring to. I picked whatever makes the most sense to me.
All the mentioned names are still known historical figures, and Yan Zhenqing (颜真卿), in particular, is another renowned calligrapher who has his own eponymous style. That long quote from him was an earlier preface he wrote for the packaged bundle with the poem-song praising Huaisu, with an interlude about the history of cursive stuck in there.
The last quote from Huaisu’s uncle isn’t exactly saying he’s foolish and doesn’t quite read that way either—it’s more a combination of praise, warning, and encouragement. As his senior relative, his uncle can’t just praise Huaisu directly, he has to do it in a roundabout way. Your relatives supposedly dissing you while secretly being proud is definitely a common Chinese experience.
Why are these displayed in Su Manor?
Time for a bit of speculation. Let’s ignore the anachronism of Tang Dynasty calligraphy showing up in a pre-Tang setting, since NiF isn’t supposed to be fixed to a historical period anyways. Wrist strength and agility are commonly considered crucial for good calligraphy, and exactly what Lin Shu lacked after his poison treatment that caused him to change his handwriting from regular script (with a touch of semi-cursive) to clerical script (I’m dubious that clerical script actually requires less wrist to write well, but that’s probably another investigation for another time). Perhaps the calligraphy is a mundane choice, set up to give him the image of a cultured scholar who appreciates the fine arts; maybe Mei Changsu likes the humblebrag text, or maybe, he chose this calligraphy to remind himself of what he had lost, what he aspires to be?
I want to end on some reasons why the cursive scrolls are particularly memorable for the viewer, outside of the universe. Aesthetically, I find them a beautiful design choice: everything in the house is neat and orderly, and the wild and unrestrained vigor of the cursive lends a great contrasting sense of movement in the stillness even though it is, of course, not actually moving. Unlike the most typical presentation of hanging white paper up against the wall, these translucent banners, especially the main pair, are striking spatial elements that have a real presence in the room, like harmonious ghosts.
And most of all, a strong spirit written on a delicate frame is exactly who Mei Changsu is. When the scrolls show up again in NiF2, tattered inside an empty room, barely given a glance by people who have no idea what once existed here, it’s a real gut punch of dramatic irony for the audience (even though it’s totally different calligraphy with different characters and handwriting—let’s call it meta-commentary on how history and memory corrupts).
Revisiting this moment, after I’ve spent a good number of hours with the scrolls, I can’t help but see it in the context of Mei Changsu’s legacy. Even though very few remember him decades years later, what he did mattered, and there are traces of it dispersed everywhere in that world. The act of putting brush to paper is ephemeral, but the piece of art remains for as long as history will allow it; justice is difficult and peace is fragile, but both are worth fighting for.
The sun is gone but I have a light. 🔦
Nirvana // In Bloom
Another look from Mr. Cobain 👓
Nirvana - Nevermind
kurt and kim
#osho #buddha #love #meditation #jiddukrishnamurti #celebration #consciousness #zen #freedom #nirvana #nature #universe #intimacy #india #intuition #death #divine #dance #awareness #awakening https://www.instagram.com/p/CUX1DorhoaF/?utm_medium=tumblr
#osho #buddha #love #meditation #jiddukrishnamurti #celebration #consciousness #zen #freedom #nirvana #nature #universe #intimacy #india #intuition #death #divine #dance #awareness #awakening https://www.instagram.com/p/CUX0_zMhkp3/?utm_medium=tumblr
Dave Grohl Says He Almost Joined Gwar
Today in Oh, What Could Have Been..!: Dave Grohl has revealed to Rolling Stone that he was once extremely close to becoming the drummer for GWAR. Naturally, this was pre-Nirvana and pre-Foo Fighters, when Grohl was still a teenager. Sez Grohl: “GWAR were looking for a drummer. And I talked to their guitar player Dewey [Rowell, a.k.a. the original ‘Flattus Maximus’] about it. And he’s, like,…
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