Very few works of calligraphy are excellent in three-folds: 1. visually, 2. In its meaning, and 3. In the bond between the two. Moreover, there are times when one does not need to know the precise meaning of a work to understand the feeling it is trying to convey. This scroll by Bosai Kameda is one of these instances. Without knowing its precise meaning, I encourage you to approach the work visually first. The lines of letters are flying and dancing in beautiful harmony, your eyes following this gentle and elegant dance.
The text translates to: “In the whole hills and valleys, fresh and youthful Green is getting taller as if snuggling into each other. Wooden gates of humble huts are dotted along the gentle slopes. In my back yard, a tangerine tree and bamboos are standing close in the setting sun. Birds are flying so freely in the hills and valleys.”
I hope you can appreciate the exceptional bond shared between this particular work’s visual beauty and its underlying meaning.
About the Artist: Bosai Kameda was an artist, calligrapher, scholar, a poet and a literati. In early 1800s, hiis calligraphy was valued among not only the wealthiest connoisseurs but also Daimyos, feudal lords. Instead of being an aloof famous artist like many of his contemporaries, he was loved and respected by people around his hometown. He lived among common people all his life. Here, in the United States, he is famous for his wood block print picture book, “Mountains of the Heart”. In Japan he is renowned for his masterful calligraphy.