New York 2014

Fūgetsu Hitotoki no Nasake

Black acrylic cutout “shell”

The calligraphy of this phrase was written by a young woman, Princess Ayaki, wife of Uesugi Akitaka. All we know of her is that she was married in 1783, and died at age 19.

The phrase does not come from either the Chinese or Japanese literary traditions, but the initial compound, “wind moon” is often used as a metaphor for nature, as well as a reference to elegant pursuits. Additionally, it can mean relations between men and women--adding an extra layer of meaning to this young woman’s moving calligraphy. In essence, the phrase captures the heart of Japanese poetics.

I scanned the original image from a mounted scroll, then created a digital file that was laser-cut in acrylic.

Clear acrylic cutout, painted white, attached to grid fabric scroll by magnet.

Clear acrylic cutout “shell”, inner cut painted black

Black acrylic free-hanging cutout hung from magnet-mounted brocade strip.

Clear acrylic free-hanging cutout, painted black