kaou 花押
KEY WORD : art history / paintings
Also kakihan 書判, lit. written seal mark, or han 判. Specifically designed character representing or accompanying the signature and affixed at the end of letters and documents *okugaki 奥書. Originally, the kaou was used in place of a full signature, then came to accompany the signature and was written underneath it. The complicated pattern of brushstrokes (based on an abbreviation of Chinese characters or kanji 漢字) was meant to protect against forgery. One person may have used several kaou often changing the style with advancing age. In the mid-Heian period, kaou developed as a type of monogram, written in an abbreviated calligraphy *soumyou 草名 which evolved from the custom of writing signatures in the formal style kaisho 楷書 (in the 7c) and in the cursive script sousho 草書 (in the 8c). This style was mainly used by the imperial family. In the Kamakura period, the practice of combining elements of two characters in a name into a single written seal mark nigattai 二合体 developed, and was adopted by courtier and warrior classes. In the Muromachi period, kaou was often created from a single character related to one's name ichijitai 一字体. Around the 15c kaou were created as original patterns unrelated to any character of one's name betsuyoutai 別用体. In the Edo period, the style of kaou was influenced by the 14-17c calligraphic fashion of Ming China, called minchoutai 明朝体. This was characterized by two horizontal lines (representing heaven and earth) drawn above and below the central abbreviated character.


(C)2001 Japanese Architecture and Art Net Users System. No reproduction or republication without written permission.