Hozan Nagura

“Empty space” inkstone. “World of ink”

  • Inkstone carving
  • Presented in 2020
  • H 53.0 x W 16.6 x D 24.3 cm
  • $9,082

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When a person enjoys and admires an ink stone, that person imagines what is on his mind in that scene. I call the part where the ink stone is rubbed the "hill" or "land" and the part where the water and liquid ink is placed, "pond" or "sea" and create a scene. The simple shape of this piece was made with the image of a peaceful cove where waves are lapping onto the shore.

Category Inkstone carving
Year Presented 2020
Dimensions H 53.0 x W 16.6 x D 24.3 cm
Materials Homei Stone (Aichi Prefecture, Horaiji Mountain)
Exhibition The 67th 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.