Haiga and Haiku. Part 5.

The images and text are from Haiku, Volume 1, Eastern Culture by R. H. Blyth, published by Hokuseido in Japan. No year of copyright.

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The sketch by Sesshu, 1450-1506 (below) was evidently a study for a larger, more ambitious work; this is shown by the absence of the seals.


It is too brilliant, to good for haiga, it lacks something, the warmth and human sentiment that infuse the more clumsy and less slick pictures by those who are concerned with the things represented rather than with the representation. The sketch shows, however, a simplification and grasp of essentials which are the aim of haiku.

Miyamoto Musashi, 1582-1645, who died one year after the birth of Basho, continues the unconscious development towards haiga. His Shrike Screeching on a Dead Branch (below) has the quietness of eye, and the penetration into the nature of bird and bough, but it still aims at a perfection which for haiga and haiku is limited and finite. The great problem here is how to combine art with nature, nature that is always incomplete never finished. It is the same paradox everywhere, to “reject people” yet value above all things “the human warmth”; to love and hate; to hold and to renounce; to be oneself alone and be all things; to paint form and yet be conscious only of the spirit of the thing.

Photo Aug 15, 8 54 05 AM

2 thoughts on “Haiga and Haiku. Part 5.

  1. Nonduality Post author

    Interesting observation, the image isn’t flattened out by perfection but still retains enough sacred chaos to hold a world of nature outside what is depicted in the drawn lines.


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