Trying to find quote - Zen, calligraphy
May 6, 2019 3:12 PM   Subscribe

I'm trying to find a quote that went something like: At the age of 30 I could draw a line, At the age of 40 I could draw a circle, ... Upon reaching 70 I was able to draw a landscape Something about the intensity of study required for mastery of seemingly simple things. I believe it's from a zen calligrapher. Similar to this:
posted by jkaplanenator to Religion & Philosophy (2 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: It's from Hokusai. There are several versions.

"All I have produced before the age of seventy is not worth taking into account. At seventy-three I have learned a little about the real structure of nature, of animals, plants, trees, birds, fishes and insects. In consequence when I am eighty, I shall have made still more progress. At ninety I shall penetrate the mystery of things; at one hundred I shall certainly have reached a marvelous stage; and when I am a hundred and ten, everything I do, be it a dot or a line, will be alive. I beg those who live as long as I to see if I do not keep my word. Written at the age of seventy five by me, once Hokusai, today Gwakyo Rojin, the old man mad about drawing."

"From around the age of six, I had the habit of sketching from life. I became an artist, and from fifty on began producing works that won some reputation, but nothing I did before the age of seventy was worthy of attention. At seventy-three, I began to grasp the structures of birds and beasts, insects and fish, and of the way plants grow. If I go on trying, I will surely understand them still better by the time I am eighty-six, so that by ninety I will have penetrated to their essential nature. At one hundred, I may well have a positively divine understanding of them, while at one hundred and thirty, forty, or more I will have reached the stage where every dot and every stroke I paint will be alive. May Heaven, that grants long life, give me the chance to prove that this is no lie."
posted by gregr at 8:43 PM on May 6, 2019 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thank you!!
posted by jkaplanenator at 9:34 PM on May 6, 2019 [1 favorite]

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