Calligraphy: A Scribe's Notes Art Blog
There is a long history between cats and calligraphers. Written in the margins of an illuminated manuscript at the Abbey of St. Paul at Reichenau, Corinthia, a poem about the scribes cat, inspired a book telling of the adventures of Pangur Ban who finally ends his travels at Cashel Castle in Eire, keeping it rodent-free and where he was greatly loved. Pangur Ban is Gaelic for "white Pangur" or "little white cat." Complete poem below.
Going just by anecdotal research, a surprising number of calligraphers/artists own cats. What then is the connection? Is it our love of graceful curve and pleasing line? The contrast, in my case of black and white? Simon Kramer, a painter, writes in his very entertaining blog about his wife's cat as though he dislikes the thing; yet he finds the cat interesting enough to watch,ponder and write about. My 15 year old black cat "Shadow" is my constant studio companion and adversary. He knows exactly when to annoy me by drinking dirty paint water, pushing pens off the table after I have expressly forbid it and walking across the key boardddddddddd whilllle trailinnnnng his tail under my nose. Good Kitty. His redemption is that he serves as my shoulder warmer, mouse catcher, gesture model and zen instructor. It's impossible to watch him make these incredible silhouettes without grabbing a sketchbook or camera. Shadow goes about the business of being a cat somewhat quietly,demanding his solitude in equal portion to his company, sleeping 23 hours a day and persistently pestering to be fed. A lot like me.
I and my white Pangur have each his special art: His mind is set on hunting mice, mine is upon my special craft.
I love to rest - better than any fame! With close study at my little book; White Pangur does not envy me: He loves his childish play.
When in our house we two are all alone... A tale without tedium. We have - sport never-ending! Something to exercise our wit.
At times by feats of derring-do a mouse sticks in his net, while into my net there drops a difficult problem of hard meaning.
He points his full shining eye against the fence of the wall: I point my clear though feeble eye against the keenness of science.
He rejoices with quick leaps when in his sharp claw sticks a mouse; I, too, rejoice when I have grasped a problem difficult and dearly loved.
Though we are thus at all time, neither hinders the other, each of us pleased with his own art amuses himself alone.
He is master of the work which every day he does: While I am at my own work to bring difficulty to clearness.
Eighth Century Irish Monk