Hozan Nagura

KYOKU RYOUKEN "Small Hermit"

  • Inkstone carving
  • Presented in 2019
  • H 5.6 x W 19.0 x D 27.0 cm
  • $8,345

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The stone used to make this ink stone is a sedimentary rock that exfoliates easily. A stone of this thickness is quite rare. I designed this ink stone considering and combining the Houraiji Mountain where this stone was produced and the shape of the medicine for long life that the hermits who established the Horaiji Temple had. There is a story and a sense of humour behind this design. The lines on the four sides creates a tense atmosphere, and although this stone can be held in one's hands, we can imagine an intelligent and magnificent view from this small piece.

Category Inkstone carving
Year Presented 2019
Dimensions H 5.6 x W 19.0 x D 27.0 cm
Materials Homei Stone (Aichi Prefecture, Horaiji Mountain)
Exhibition The 66th Japan Traditional Kōgei Exhibition

  • Inkstone carving

    Inkstones are used in brush calligraphy to grind the ink for writing characters. Inkstones are highly valued writing tools, and the process of ink grinding is regarded as a calming practice preceding calligraphic activities. First, the rough shape of the inkstone is cut out of the base rock. Next, a long-handled chisel is used to cut a flat surface where the ink will be ground and a well where the ink will gather. The final form is coated with a finish of wax or lacquer. Popular varieties of stone include Amehata slate (amehataishi) from Yamanashi prefecture, akamaishi schalstein from Yamaguchi prefecture, and hōmeiseki shale and slate from Aichi prefecture.

Hozan Nagura

photo Hozan Nagura

As stone materials I use kimpo-seki, engan-seki, and homei-seki, collected around Kadoya, and the suzuri (ink stone) made of these three types of stone are called “Horaiji Suzuri.”  Not only do I want to improve and cultivate the techniques handed down by my predecessors, and pass them on to the next generation, but I also want to develop suzuri from a simple calligraphy utensil to a work of art as a “vessel imbued with heart” that expresses the spirit and aesthetic sense of the Japanese people. I do not want to just follow a Chinese style, rather I aim to elevate the value of suzuri toward a new cultural and artistic domain of Japanese style; with this hope, I carry out my day-to-day production.