Connection by Seiran Chiba

   En, or 'Connection' by Seiran Chiba
  En, or 'Connection' by Seiran Chiba

An Unbreakable Bond

In 1590, the English poet Edmund Spenser first defined the word symbol as “something which stands for something else.” Since then, lots of great thinkers have refined its meaning. Psychoanalyst Carl Jung parsed words, saying signs stand for known things while symbols are less precise. Then, Scholar Heinrich Zimmer said, signs mean only one thing whereas symbols mean many. However, both agreed words are precisely defined symbols, which might seem contradictory until you realize words can have multiple meanings.

Master Japanese Calligrapher Seiran Chiba  
Master Japanese Calligrapher Seiran Chiba  

This week’s New Arrival features a work by noted Calligrapher Seiran Chiba. It depicts the character for the Japanese word En, or 'Connection.' In Japan, the definition of connection includes the faintest and most fleeting of bonds. In this context, the slightest brush of one person’s sleeve against another can reveal a connection. The brushstrokes in this character run forward, reach back, cross paths, touch, float, and do a delicate balancing act to symbolize the connection among everything, even when it is not visible.

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Related Blog: Art of the Brushstroke

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