Artwork Panel: 31.4cm x 95.2cm ≈ 12¼" x 37½"
Silk/Brocade: 40.6cm x 150.5cm ≈ 16" x 59¼"
Width at Wooden Knobs: 49.6cm ≈ 19½"
Close up view of the artwork mounted to this silk brocade wall scroll
During the 9th and 12th centuries in Japan the warrior class were known as samurai, also called bushi (knights/warriors - bushi hence bushido).
They emerged from the provinces of Japan to become the ruling class until their decline and later total abolition in 1876 during the Meiji Era.
These warriors were men who lived by Bushido; it was their way of life. The samurai's loyalty to the emperor and his overlord or daimyo were unsurpassed. They were trustworthy and honest. They lived frugal lives with no interest in riches and material things, but rather in honor and pride. They were men of true valor. Samurai had no fear of death. They would enter any battle no matter the odds. To die in battle would only bring honor to one's family and one's lord.
The actual code was passed on verbally to each generation of samurai, but over time, seven chief virtues emerged, and became the written form of Bushido.
Of course, credit is generally given that a Chinese man (known in the west as "Confucius") is the father of these values in China. Therefore, you'll find these concepts belong not only to the Japanese samurai, but have spread throughout Asia. Variations of these soldierly and moral values can be seen in China, Korea, Vietnam, and elsewhere.
See our Bushido Way of the Samurai page for more custom Japanese Kanji calligraphy options related to Bushido concepts.
I met Cao Bin years ago, and long before his fame. At that time, his wife was running a small house cleaning business. One day she was tidying up my mother-in-law's home in Beijing and overheard that I am in the business of selling Chinese calligraphy and artwork. She asked if I'd like to meet her husband who was a pretty good calligrapher as she described him with modesty.
The next evening, I visited his modest studio and saw some really nice calligraphy and great black ink bamboo paintings that he'd just finished. After a lot of tea drinking and chatting, I asked if I could commission a few pieces.
Through the years, I would occasionally buy a few more pieces, not realizing how famous he had become. I might pop by his studio, only to hear from his wife that he was down in Anhui receiving an award for his calligraphy (calligraphy competitions are comparable to the fervor that sports championships have in the rest of the world). It finally dawned on me that this man I had known for about 7 years was a premier calligrapher for whom books had been published featuring his work, and the recipient of numerous awards.
The best part is that I have guanxi (a word that kind of means "special relationship" in Chinese), he gives me better prices than anyone else. This really fits well with my philosophy to offer high quality Asian artwork that everyone can afford.
When I first met him, Cao Bin had a shaved head like a Buddhist monk. Years later, he has traded in that look for the ponytail that is expected of the eccentric Chinese artist
A frenzy of people watch Cao Bin create his calligraphy during a special event
Cao Bin at his studio
Full view of Cao Bin's calligraphy studio
This is painted on xuan paper (often incorrectly called "rice paper"). The raw artwork was then taken to my workshop in east Beijing where the master mounter built it into a handmade wall scroll.