Collection

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Century Cultural Foundation dedicates itself to the preservation and propagation of the cultural form of writing. Japanese culture flourished with calligraphy at its core, and the use of paper and writing with a brush dipped in Indian ink came into being at the beginning of the sixth century, when Buddhism was first introduced into the country. At first, only the formal, block-style kanji (Chinese characters) were used to manually copy Buddhist sutras, or scriptures. With attention to accuracy and aesthetic presentation, the scriptures were eagerly copied and studied, thus giving birth to a world of culture transmitted and preserved by means of handwriting. Gradually, the more free-flowing style known as sosho was developed and eventually simplified into a set of Japanese syllabary called kana. The new kana style stimulated the popularity of Japanese waka poetry and Japanese-style storytelling, which laid the foundation of Japanese literature. Competing for prominence with calligraphy, other arts and crafts advanced and diversified into several genres.

The 2,500-strong works of art preserved at the Century Cutural Foundation were collected with vision and ambition. They now tell the stories of the remote past and the masters quest for aesthetic perfection and cultural development.