Types of Honseki Scrolls

I. BOKUSEKI 墨跡- Chinese or Japanese Zen calligraphies

  1. Ge (gatha) 偈-explanations of the Buddha and the Dharma
  2. Hou-go 法語- sermons
  3. Inkajo 印可書 - certification of enlightenment experience
  4. Go 号- giving of holy name
  5. Shibun 詩文-letters, poems, etc. of a more secular nature
  6. Shouzo 肖像- portraits of a Zen master, usually given to disciple
  7. Zengo 禅語- more modern form of Zen teaching device
    • in yokomono 横物 or ichigyo 一行物, nigyo 二行 mono form

II. KOHITSU 古筆- usually poetic works, narrative hand scrolls, calligraphy samplers, book forms, etc. of Heian -Kamakura period; mounted as hanging scrolls in Edo or later; gorgeous papers also sutra fragments, kyo-giri etc.; usually cut up scrolls or folding books, a practice begun in Momoyama. Sometimes (later) done on finest colored and decorated papers

  1. Kashu 歌集- poetic compilations
  2. Ro-e shu 郎詠集- poetic collections
  3. Uta awase 歌合- records of poetic competitions
  4. Shakyo 写経- sutra copy
  5. Shinkan 宸翰- Imperial writings
  6. Nikki 日記- diary

III. KAISHI 懐紙- from mid-Heian, men used futokoro-gami (breast{water from the eyes-memories wrapped in clothing-the heart} paper) for kanshi then for single (or more) waka, esp. during utakai- poetry contests (from 886) or spontaneous outbursts. Usually white, multi-use paper 45.1-40 cm x 32.1-30 cm. Form set by e. Edo, three lines then last three characters separate, in hentaigana or Man'yogana (kanji used for sound only). Many famous series exist of all the poems written during outing, contest, etc.

IV. TANZAKU 短冊- from Kamakura, white then later uchigumo kaishi, decorated top and bottom / gold & silver, blue and purple; cut into strips; held up to write on therefore called te-kagami "hand mirror." From Edo, offered at Sumiyoshi Waka no Kamisama and to Hitomaro

V. SHIKISHI 色紙- somegami,"dyed paper" from the Tang period, used in Shosoin, collections, in hand rolls and on screens; from Heian as kohitsu , also cut as masu, "box" shaped papers; from Muromachi used like tanzaku and kaishi, with uchigumo, underpaintings, etc. Often used for copying old poems

VI. SHOUSOKU 消息- letters; most expressive of inner nature of writer, informal and off guard; especially desirable for nagori, memorials, etc. Letters from Tea men, poets or monks, or their diaries mounted usually in horizontal format. Depending upon the age and importance of the author, these letters and diaries may be used in the Machiai or the main Tokonoma. For example, the only calligraphy we have of Sen Rikyu's consists of letters, authentifications of tea objects and diary entries. Mounted as scrolls these command the highest respect among Tea people. Besides Rikyu's writings, however the writings of cultivated men and women, especially if they contain a poem or some sort of seasonal observation or spiritual content, are considered interesting for their spontaneity and freedom of calligraphy as well. Occasionally, a tea utensil will have a letter connected with it, usually recounting its history or provenance. These make excellent Machiai scrolls when the object in question is used in the tea gathering somewhere. There are a number of letters ordering utensils such as furo braziers, kettles, etc. which whet the imagination and deepen the guest's appreciation of the thoroughness of the host's preparations and sharing.

Honseki scrolls

Generally speaking, Zen phrases make up the bulk of scrolls used for the tea room. Earliest Zen scrolls were Song and Kamakura period Chinese records of enlightenment, the bestowal of religious names and titles, and letters of parting given to Japanese monks who returned home. Most all of these are now considered national treasures or important cultural objects. From the Kamakura period, Japanese Zen monks began the practice of single line scrolls, usually five character Zen phrases which are still standard and still being produced in numbers today. This vertical format scroll is called an ichi-gyo mono, 一行物 "one-liner". There is a horizontal format wherein the characters are written, usually from right to left, called a yoko-mono 横物. From the format and content of the main scroll, the format and content of the Machiai scroll must be determined, so as to produce a feeling of balance, variety and harmony of shapes. Besides the vertical and horizontal format for the main scrolls, there are several fancy formats that make for lighter, more accessible Machiai scrolls. Some different types of scrolls besides paintings feature oval fan and folding fan formats 扇面, square poem cards called shikishi 色紙, and rectangular poem strips called tanzaku 短冊 forms.

As to content, single poems or poem sequences in a vertical format called kaishi 懐紙 are usable for either the Machiai or main Tokonoma, depending upon other utensils and the host's intent. Simple ink paintings with Chinese poems called kanshi 漢詩, Japanese 31-syllable waka 和歌 or seventeen syllable haiku 俳句 make for multi-faceted scrolls which give both intellectual stimulation and visual pleasure to the waiting area, as well as a historical richness to the Tea experience.

During a Yobanashi (evening chanoyu in the winter), the sky may stay light until 5:30 or 6:00 but inside, it is very dark. For this reason, a candle in a portable candle stand, Te-shoku is provided by the Teishu in the the Tokonoma. This may be used by the Guests to inspect the scroll at closer range, but the Guest holds the strap-leg candle stick with the longest leg toward the wall/ scroll, so as not to get too close and scorch the scroll. This Te-shoku is returned to the Teishu / Sadoguchi by the Tsume, once all have haikened the toko. Also in the room for illumination is an oil lamp.

Occasionally, one will find the timing for scroll and flowers reversed or both scroll and flowers together. This practice is called morokazari.

The only other thing found in the Tokonoma (of large rooms) is the ha-cha tsubo, usually decorating the Tokonoma for a kuchikiri chaji. The Chatsubo is filled with leaf tea particles surrounding paper bags with Koicha particles in them. The mouth of this jar is sealed with paper pasted over the mouth of the jar. Cutting across the mouth of the jar gives rise to the name of this "kuchi kiri" chaji, considered the most significant of chaji. This is because, in the past, one had to own several significant tea jars in which to store ones Tea, in order to be considered a "proper chajin."

Scrolls by seasons

This list was taken from : http://teatoys.com/kscroll.html#anchor2950353


Phrase - 1 - Shun sui shikaku ni mitsu - the spring waters fill the shallows in the four directions

Phrase - 2 - Haru kitatte kusa onozukara shouzu - when spring comes, the grasses naturally sprout

Phrase - 3 - Shun puu fukuju o shouzu - spring wind gives birth to prosperity and happiness

Phrase - 4 - Rishun dai kishou - spring comes with great good fortune

Phrase - 5 - Touka shunpu ni warau - the peach flowers laugh in the spring breeze

Phrase - 6 - Shitou shunsou shouzu - on he banks of the lake spring grasses pop up

Phrase - 7 - Uki harete ten chi haru nari - when the snow clears, Heaven and Earth are in spring

Phrase - 8 - Hana hiraite bankoku no haru - when the flowers open, it's spring in all the world

Phrase - 9 - Rika isshi no haru - when one branch of pear blossoms it's spring

Phrase - 10 - Keibai ichida kanbashi - march - Valley plum, one branch blossoms, it's fragrant

Phrase - 11 - Zuiki baika ni mitsu - auspicious spirit fills the plum blossoms

Phrase - 12 - Sanka hiraite nishiki ni nitari - when the mountain flowers opens, its like brocade (cherry, azelia, colored leaves, also good in Autumn)

Phrase - 13 - Hana hiraite chou onozukara kitaru - when the flowers open, the butterflies naturally come

Phrase - 14 - Ikka hiraite tenka no haru - one flower opens, all under heaven is spring

Phrase - 15 - Haru wa sen rin ni iri shosho uguisu - when spring enters the thousand forests, here and there the bush warbler


Phrase - 16 - Natsu wa suzushi san men no kaze - summer is cool wind from three directions

Phrase - 17 -Kaun kiho ooushi - many summer clouds collect arround the peak

Phrase - 18 - Kun pu ji nan rai OR Kunpu onozakara minami kara koraisu - the fragrent wind comes from the south

Phrase - 19 - Hobo seifu okosu - step by step, the pure breeze comes

Phrase - 20 - Seifu shuchiku ugokasu - the pure breeze moves the bamboo

Phrase - 21 - Seiryuu kandan nashi - the pure flow has no gaps or breaks

Phrase - 22 - Suijo seiseitaru midori - fresh and verdant green

Phrase - 23 - Denkaku bi ryou o shouzu - the hall gives birth to a faint coolness

Phrase - 24 - Sansui ni seion ari - the mountain waters have a pure sound

Phrase - 25 - Kumon no kaze onozukara suzushi - the breeze through the empty gate is cool

Phrase - 26 - Kumo osamatte sangaku aoshi - the cloud-gathering mountain tops are green

Phrase - 27- Haku un hou ohou ni okoru - the peaks give rise to white clouds

Phrase - 28 - Kumo yuyu mizu sensen - the clouds are majestic and the water babbles

Phrase - 29 - Taki shouka sanzen jyou - the water falls straight down 3,000 jo (1 jo = 10 feet)

Phrase - 30 - Take yoyo seifu okosu - bamboo -- its leaves create a cool breeze


Phrase - 31 - Shuzan fugetsu kiyoshi - in autumn, the mountains, the wind and the moon are pure

Phrase - 32 - Aki kitatte kusa ni koe ari - when autumn comes, the grasses have a voice

Phrase - 33 - Shuukuu issei no gan - autumn sky, the sound of a goose

Phrase - 34 - Shuugiku ni keishoku ari - the autumn chrysanthemums have an elegant color

Phrase - 35 - Seishu chiku ro fukashi - pure autumn bamboo dew is deep

Phrase - 36 - Kouyou shunpu ni mau - the colored leaves dance in the autumn wind

Phrase - 37 - Waga kokoro shuu getsu ni nitari - my heart is like the autumn moon

Phrase - 38 - Seifuu banri no aki - the pure wind 10,000 leagues of autumn (a ri or li is 2.44 miles or 3.9 kilometers)

Phrase - 39 - Tsuki kiyoku senko no aki - the moon is pure as a thousand ancient autumns

Phrase - 40 - Raku-you sansen ni mitsu - fallen leaves fill the mountain stream

Phrase - 41 - Seifu meigetsu o harau - the pure wind cleans the bright moon

Phrase - 42 - Mizu o kikusureba tsuki wa te ni ari - scooping up water, the moon is in my hand

Phrase - 43 - Shigure kouyou o arao - sudden showers wash the colored leaves

Phrase - 44 - Meigetsu koho ni noboru - the bright moon climbs the solitary peak

Phrase - 45 - Fuuyou shimo o hete kurenai nari - the maple leaves, only when touched by frost, turn red


Phrase - 46 - Santou koboku no hana - after three winters the withered tree flowers

Phrase - 47 - Gin wan ri ni yuki o moru - pile snow in a silver bowl

Phrase - 48 - Tsuru wa tobu senjyaku no yuki - cranes fly - a thousand feet of snow

Phrase - 49 - Hitori tsuru kan kou no yuki - fishing alone in the cold river snow

Phrase - 50 - Seki setsu yuugei o umeru - the piled up snow buries the mysterious path

Phrase - 51 - Kankan rou getsu tsukushite - in two glances, the last month of the year is over

Phrase - 52 - setsuri ni kousetsu o miru - in the snow one can see lofty virtue

Phrase - 53 - Kou rou itten no yuki - (above) the red hearth, one flake of snow

Phrase - 54 -Ichirin no soukyou terasu - the frostring mirror is shining

Phrase - 55 -Tou rei koshou hi itsu - on a winter peak, the lone pine stands out


Phrase - 56 -Mu - nothingness, emptyness

Phrase - 57 - Wa - harmony, balance; peace

Phrase - 58 - Juu OR kotobuki - longgevity, congratulations

Phrase - 59 - Mu OR yume- dream

Phrase - 60 - Fuku - prosperity

Phrase - 61 - Seijaku - purity and tranquility

Phrase - 62 - Koujitsu - a good day

Phrase - 63 - Shoufuu OR Matsukaze - pine wind

Phrase - 64 - Buji - no thing

Phrase - 65 -Zuiun - auspicious clouds

Phrase - 66 - Mu ichi motsu OR Mu ichi butsu - no one thing

Phrase - 67 - Kissako - drink tea !!

Phrase - 68 - Shuujinkou - a hero (you must be the hero of your own life)

Phrase - 69 - Wa Kei Sei Jaku - harmony, respect, purity, and tranquility

Phrase - 70 - Ichi-go Ichi-e - one chance in a lifetime

Phrase - 71 - Seizan Ryokusui - blue mountains, green waters

Phrase - 72 -Yanagi wa midori, hana wa kurenai - the willows are green and the flowers are red

Phrase - 73 - Matsu ni kokon no iro nashi - the pine has no old or new color

Phrase - 74 - Shou ju sen nen no midori - the pine tree a thousand years green

Phrase - 75 - Kanza shou fu o kiku - sitting leisurely listening to the pine wind

Phrase - 76 - Haku tsuru oimatsu ni mau - the white cranes dance in the old pine

Phrase - 77 - Saihou tanshou ni mau - the colored phoenix dances in the red sky

Phrase - 78 - Fukujukai mu ryou - the ocean of prosperity is unfathomable

Phrase - 79 - Zuiun koudou ni mitsuru - the auspicious clouds fill the high hall

Phrase - 80 - Juzan ban jou takashi - the mountain of happiness is 10,000 jo tall (1 jo =10 feet)

Phrase - 81 - Honrai mu ichi butsu OR Honrai mu ichi motsu - originally there was no one thing

Phrase - 82 - Hibi kore kojitsu OR Nichi nichi kore kojitsu - every day is a good day

Phrase - 83 - Take ni jyouge no fushi ari - the bamboo has nodes above and below

Phrase - 84 - Buji kore kijin OR Buji kore kinin - to a man of satori nothing happens

Phrase - 85 - Seiza ichimi no tomo - purely sitting, one taste of friendship

Phrase - 86 - Heiya shizuka ni shite sami kiyoshi - resting in your room, the tea flavor is pure

Phrase - 87 - Hakkei nao migakubeshi - you must always polish the white jewel

Phrase - 88 - Kokoro shizuka ni shite chami kanbashi - when your mind is at rest the tea flavor is fragrant

Phrase - 89 - Haku un yuuseki o idaku - the white clouds embrace the mysterious stone

Phrase - 90 - Tsuru wa mau sen nen no matsu - the cranes dance in the thousand year pine

Phrase - 91- Hana o rousureba kaori e ni mitsu - when you play with flowers, fragrance fills your sleeves

Phrase - 92 - Wa ki hounen no kizashi - spirit of peace augurs a rich year

Phrase - 93 - Kougetsu terashi shoufu fuku - river moon shines, pine wind blows

Phrase - 94 - Mei rekireki ro doudou - everything bright and clear, everything open

Phrase - 95 - Ichi jitsu seikan ichi jitsu fuku - for every day of pure relaxation, (you get) one day of prosperity

Phrase - 96 - Hanashi tsukusu san'un kai getsu no jou - when talk is exhasted the mountains and clouds, the ocean and the moon are sympathetic

Phrase - 97 - Gyofu no shougai take ikkan - the fisherman's life, one bamboo pole

Phrase - 98 - Enzan mugen heki sousou -over the distant mountains, limitless blue sky

Phrase - 99 - Take kimi-ga-tame ni youyou seifu okosu - bamboo - for you the leaves create a pure breeze

Phrase - 100 - Kan nan boku touzai katsuro ni tsuuzu - the barrier - south, north, east, and west, all roads pass through

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chado: Jiku (last edited 2008-09-26 21:05:06 by KatieB)