2020/10/18

Toko Shinoda’s calligraphy at its best


(Meeting with Myself, The Asahi Shinbun, April 24, 1989)

When I was producing calligraphic specimens of the words I particularly liked – the words like 「flame」, 「river」「tree」and 「snow」, Felt chagrined that they were not of my own creation. I became unbearably envious of those who created such words. As feeling envy for others constituted a gross breach of ladies’ code, I decided to someday create my own heart’s symbols.

Yuki (2007) ed. 13/50 38 x 28 cm, lithograph, hand-colored

Yuki (雪): Shinoda often employs actual words in her work with no reason but that she liked the shape of the word.

Ancient Dream (2007) ed. 19/50 38 x 28 cm, lithograph, hand-colored

Asaki Yumemishi: This is from the Iroha poem.

Longing (1996) ed. 19/35 63 x 46 cm, lithograph, hand-colored
Ancient Journey (1996) ed. 18/30 72 x 53 cm, lithograph, hand-colored

Tabi (旅): This lithograph was released for a special Shinoda exhibition at the Singapore National Museum in 1996.

Ancient Poem (1996) ed. 18/30 72 x 53 cm, lithograph, hand-colored

Irohanihoheto (伊呂波): This lithograph was released for a special Shinoda exhibition at the Singapore National Museum in 1996.

(Iroha 48 words, Kyoiku publication 1983)

“Inkstone. As I often work in large format, I use Sung Tuan Hsi inkstone of about two shaku(1) by one. Every morning I pour as much as a go(1) of water into the well of my inkstone・・・
“The gesture of rubbing down an ink stick is only a monotonous repetition and yet an indescribable kind of sensual pleasure comes up from the stick, through my hand, to my body・・・”

Anthology B (1985) ed. 20/38 72 x 53 cm, lithograph, hand-colored

This early work made in 1985 draws our attention to Shinoda’s imagination and her love of classical Japanese literature.

Heian Verse (1996) ed. 18/35 53 x 70.5 cm, lithograph, hand-colored

“Saigyo” Hakoyagamineno harunimutsurete: This piece is in the art collection of Yale University, donated by The Tolman Collection.

Letters (1999) ed. 16/50 38 x 28 cm, lithograph, hand-colored

Asaki Yumemishi: This is from the Iroha poem.


The work of Toko SHINODA by Tolman Collection

Toko Shinoda (b.1913) has been brushing her trailblazing works for over 75 years. Born at a time when higher education for women was not a common practice, she studied calligraphy with her father and then delved into the study of Chinese and Japanese literary texts. Frequently, lines of classical and contemporary poetry make their way into her spare, abstract work. The Tolman Collection of Tokyo has represented this pioneering artist for decades, during which time her work has been acquired by museums around the globe.

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