Saturday, January 15, 2011

two Lao Tzu inspired postcards

The line between obscure and obvious* is tricky, so I don't know if this is clever. I prefer to imagine that it is, but looking at it I think it was one of those pieces that you don't have to make because there's nothing to them.

It's (obviously?) an illustration of the part of the Tao Teh Ching that says that a cup is useful because of what's not there. Because writing is the same way- the negative space is exactly as necessary as the ink. I don't think this is integral to getting it, but that is the character (in Japanese but hopefully in Chinese, because the Tao Teh Ching is in Chinese) for bowl, plate, or dish.

How's this for clever: I used an online translator to find the word for bowl, then looked in the index of my Japanese book, couldn't find it, repeated the process with the word "cup," then looked through every page one by one until I found the character I needed, at which point I realized I had already learned it.

*words which, distressingly, don't share a root.

No comments: