Another scroll assignment and another first for me. I was given a scroll assignment to create an award scroll for a person with Japanese persona.
Name; Heather Marie Hall (Heather Rocchi) Midlands/FoxvaleAward: Award of the Purple Fret
Reason: for her prolific and steadfast service to Our Kingdom
I was sure I wanted to make a Japanese scroll, but not sure how exactly to go about it. As it turns out my children are enrolled in a dual language Japanese elementary school. One of the other parents that has become a friend to the family is a professional writer and Japanese translator. I provided her with some text which I wanted on a scroll and she reworked it and translated it for me.
Here is the information I provided her with along with a quick translation from Google Translator (which as it turns out kind of sucks).
Let it be known by all that we Dag, King by right of arms of the Middle Kingdom, and AnneMarie our Queen, do recognize the dedicated service that Lady Heather Marie Hall hath freely given unto the Middle Kingdom, specifically as an exceptional scribe.
We do here publicly praise her and are pleased to bestow upon her the Award of the Purple Fret.
We grant unto her all rights and responsibilities of this rank and the right to bear the badge without hindrance from any person.
Given by our hands this 10th day of November, A.S. 47, at this, our Known World Academy of Rapier and Costume Symposium.
She wrote the text out in a format more consistent with an actual period notification of this sort. Without her help I would not have been able to put this together. This is the text she provided me with which in in Japanese. The following text includes the Furigana in parenthesis which is the Hiragana characters included to aid in the pronunciation of the Kanji for those that may not be able to read all of the Japanese characters. Those are not included in the scroll as they are simply an aid to the reader. I can actually read a bit of Japanese and this, for me, was very useful. I now had a scroll which I could actually read and properly pronounce. I added the Romaji which is the pronunciation written out in English letters.
PAAPURU FUREETO shoo
REDEII . HEZAA. MARII. HOORU-sama
anata wa yuushuu na shokikan toshite,
kisasekai REIPIA to KOSUTUUMU AKADEMI
ni rippo na ekimuteikyoushi,
PAAPURU FUREETO shou ni oite takaku hyouka saremashita.
soshite, kono RANKU no kenri to sekinin tomo,
shishyou naku BAAJI o mini tsukeru kenri o ataemasu.
yotte koko ni hyoushyoushimasu.
gojunana nen juichi gatsu junichi
kichisekai REPIA to KOSUTUUMU AKADEMI SHINPOJIUMU
taiketsu de katta chuuseikokuoo to
warewareno shyoo DAGU to AAN MARI.
Now that I had the text I could begin the layout and design. I knew that I wanted a Japanese image, hopefully of somebody doing artwork. I found a Japanese woodblock print from the 17th century (I believe) which had a woman painting. I chose to add that image in the middle of the scroll with a minimal border at the top where the royal seal would be added along with the Purple Fret badge.
The scroll will read from right to left, from top to bottom.
Here is a picture of the image I drew and the printout from the image I found.
I purchased some bamboo pens and brushes, but as it turns out my skill in the use of these new tools was very limited. I could not write in Japanese well enough to be satisfied. I could use the brush to write, but the smallest I could manage and still be legible was about three times larger than I wanted for the scroll. I backed off the authenticity and simply used a quill pen to do all the drawing and writing.
All of the text and drawing in the following photo was done with a crow quill dip pen with India ink.
Here is the layout with the signature boxes and the Purple Fret badge layout. Yup, I messed up the fret but I think I can fix that later.... I hope.
I'm really VERY happy with the look of the scroll at this point. Here are some close ups of the the writing. My wife is Japanese and read this for me. She can read limited Kanji, but not write it well enough, which is why I didn't ask her to translate it. She reviewed the text at this point and I got the green light to proceed.
I purchased some Chinese water color paints to use for the color. I know that the image was based on a wood block print and therefore wanted the overall look and feel to have that same tone and brightness. I like the look of the water colors as they have a vibrant look but at the same time slightly more muted than the gauche that I've been using.
All in all I couldn't be happier with this scroll. The image of the woman painting is some of my favorite artwork I've ever done. I really hope I get to do more Japanese scrolls in the future.