Irezumi - part II
By Muso Soseki (1275-1351)
Japan, Kamakura period, dated 1299
Hanging scroll, ink on paper
When you study Irezumi it is necessary to go beyond mere linework and shading. The pigment inserted into the skin is just a conclusion of what came before that moment. The fundamental uniqueness of Irezumi lies in its gathering of all the possible aspects of Japanese culture and history, transforming the sum of them into a spiritual and visual brocade.
Irezumi draws its power from zen, ink, paper, demons, ghosts, heroes and myth, as well as the chilled and canned café au lait that you get from one of the inumerable vending machines on any street corner in modern day
Irezumi is not old. It just started long ago. It's a common mistake to think that by practising Irezumi, you are dwelling on the past, preserving it. Irezumi is a continuous phenomena, meant to evolve and never to sit still and sulk in the dusty robe of history. Just like the Japanese garden, it is meant to explore, and with every corner and turn, there's new scenery to experience and benefit from.
(Taken from Crows and Herons)