Saturday, 26 December 2015


If you've enjoyed the Technozi and other Images Articles and Info I've shared

Support me via 


Saturday, 19 December 2015

Summer in Sydney

Todays weather forecast for Sydney should be using this for an icon?

Saturday, 12 December 2015

Empress Wu 3 Images

#EmpressWu #Wuzetian

Its curious that no images of Wu Zetian survive?

Okay there's that theory about certain Buddhist statuary but ...

so what I've done in this post is collect some modern images that are based on what we know of TANG IMPERIAL costume and  are most likely to reflect outfits she could have actually worn and not just be an artist's fancy of a sexy young WU in silk lingerie of which I had to scroll past far too many to find what I considered to be the 3 best images.


Friday, 4 December 2015

Pictographs and Words as Pictures and Phoenixes

#Pictographs and Words as Pictures and #Phoenixes

This imperfect image comes after some editing from a textbook of chinese characters showing six types of Chinese Script

yes I know I missed a few spots and probably deleted too much and the eraser tool on one character  ...

for some reason the scripts are aligned oddly two forms of seal script then li shu then xing then regular then full cao frankly if I had been doing the layout I would have shown kai modern simplified then cao and xing then on the right li and the two archaic forms.

However imperfect as the image and my editing was (its an old file form when I'd had less practice with a eraser tool) it does give some idea of the progression from pictograph to ideogram over the centuries.

So is the "word" a picture even in a modern form?

An Asian or other scholar educated in calligraphy and radicals would see a tail and head under the vault of heaven in all the forms and a calligrapher might state the cursive form is both a picture and a word representing the phoenix in flight

I suspect someone being exposed to chinese scripts for the first time if asked which they think is a phoenix would pick the second character from the right ?

Which would you?

Friday, 27 November 2015


#twocats #chinese #cats #hanzi #japanese #asianlanguage

Copyright Julie Vaux 2015 

Note the elements of this character: the cat is a ferocious small predator that comes near rice fields or the dog/ animal + rice field 

I wonder if cats once hunted snakes and eels and other food in rice paddies?

Support me via 


Friday, 20 November 2015

Nihonga Sansui Style

Here's how a 20th century #Japanese painter trained in the #nihonga style sees and depicts a "dry garden" with ink.

Please note I have reduced the size of the image for better web sharing.

The original painting is much much larger than this !


Friday, 6 November 2015

Where are the women in Chinese landscapes?

Hands up and on to the Keyboard if like me as much as you like Chinese painting you wish someone would depict a female poet wandering the hills?

Okay so maybe there is a scroll in a private family collection or paintings were burnt during the Cultural Revolution but in the many years I've looked at Chinese art I think I've seen one qing dynasty work of a woman in a library and far too many works of pretty maids and boys serving scholars in gardens or during picnics.

Surely there must have been at least one painter who did a genre scene of women picnicking while visiting family tombs or a womens quarters tea party or daughters instead of sons and could one "contemporary" artist please subvert the One Hundred Children meme by making them ALL GIRLS?

I love Chinese painting but sometimes ...

Saturday, 31 October 2015

What kind of animal?


Copyright Julie Vaux 2015

Truly People I've seen so many different definitions given?

The one constant factor seems to be its use in characters describing small felid or mustelid or viverid predators though some of those species get written with characters using a dog component.

There's probably going to be a PhD thesis granted for some linguist tracing this character in ancient texts and sorting out why and when so many animals ended up having their names  being written with the dog radical instead!


Sunday, 25 October 2015

REI is Clever and Spooky

More info about the REI # kanji Ling in #chinese

Copyright Julie Vaux 2015  

I wish someone would use the Paypal tip jar. I'm in sydney but I'ld rather be in Kyoto viewing the autumn colors in the northern hills, something I have not seen in person. Yeah it would take a hug amount of tips to pay just the air fares but ... one can dream ...

Next time maybe some nihonga-e for a change ...

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Friday, 16 October 2015

REIKO Spirit Fox or Clever Girl?

#smstirling #Changeverse #kanji

In The Golden Princess an #alternatehistory #Sf novel by S. M. Stirling there's a character whose name is an excellent example of how one character can have different meanings!

I promised my fellow Changeverse fans a post explaining How Reiko could perceive her name as meaning Ghost Fox but Orlaith heard it as Clever/ beautiful lady/girl.

Now there are several combinations of kana and kanji that could write the sounds REI + KO.

Normally in modern Japanese in a girls name KO is the tzu character meaning child though there seems to be a shift away from this practice with some adult women shortening their names to one character.

Lets see the characters I think REIKO would use to write her name on a Personal seal used for private correspondence or poetry.

Copyright Julie Vaux 2015 

In chinese this would be Ling Hu or Leng wu in Cantonese ?

The REi character has several meanings quick clever beautiful intelligent supernatural spirit ghost and its KUN readings is TAMA which means jewel and spirit so Reiko's childhood name could have been Tamako and then changed to Reiko as an adult? Her actual REIGN name will probably be something different.

Here's the traditional form next to the modern form on the right.

Copyright Julie Vaux 2015  

I'll show you the character for Fox with more info in a subsequent post soon!

Fellow Stirling fans please help me out but not just sharing this post but also referring people to my Red Bubble site? Thanks?

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Saturday, 10 October 2015

More playing with Phoenixs

I've been playing with filter combos in #inkscape and this time with the #Feng #phoenix trying to craft a combo that doesn't obscure the characteristic and also suggests skies and fragrant breezes and rainbows.

I know some people loather rainbow filters and think they're kitsch but for me they sometimes have synaesthetic effects.

Or is that hypocrisy? Is it only okay for trendy famous male contemporary artists who live in Beijing to play with #hanzi. At least mine are legible. Yes grass or other scripts rendered with a  brush ink and paper are beautiful but ... readability?

Copyright Julie Vaux 2015
 I'm in Sydney but I wish I was in say ... Japan ... enjoying the colors of autumn leaves ...

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

4 Phoenixes

Copyright Julie Vaux 2015

More Phoenixes! I've included the Unicode so if you don't like this font you can use the code to generate svgs in a different font.

Support me via 


Thursday, 1 October 2015

The Female Phoenix HUANG

Copyright Julie Vaux 2015

Here are 4 font variations of the #hanzi / #kanji  for Huang
the Feng Phoenix's Consort and the word in a few dialects and languages.

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Femme Phoenix One

Copyright Julie Vaux 2015

The next Technozi sequence will be about Phoenixes.

The Male Feng has a Consort the Huang.

I am now on Etsy

Would anyone be interested in seeing or even buying a PDF album of some of my most popular technozi  which would include instructions on how I craft them? 

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Some Modern Oribe

#Oribe #japaneseCeramics #ceramics

Here's a few examples of the use of the Oribe glaze by contemporary potters

First 2 #SuzukiGoro pieces

2 #KatoYasukage Works

The final piece is a Shatrov platter by an Australian working with oribe glazes just to remind you you don't have to be Japanese!

Monday, 14 September 2015

Traditional Oribe

#japaneseceramics #oribe #mino #ceramics

Here's some examples of traditional #Japanese #ceramic #Oribe glaze and style.
some are momoyama antiquities and others modern copies of traditional ORIBE.

My next Oribe post will show how some 20th potters have used the glaze and style.

Some Notes

As well as copper glaze partially covering an area of white slip with patterns there is "BLACK" Oribe black and white patterns using Oribe shapes and AO-Oribe in which the green glaze covers most of the vessel.

now for some modern one stuff inspired by ORIBE 

this one was made by a noted australian ceramicist

one of my attempts 

and a beautiful modern australian example of Ao- Oribe to finish 


Friday, 11 September 2015

Some Oribe


We were discussing the #Oribe Glaze and Style down at #wac

Here's some Images from my personal collection.

Oribe is a Copper based #Mino glaze and also a wabisabi assymetrical style of shaping vessels and ... well enjoy the pictures!

First an overview of #minoyaki in general


Authentic Antique ORIBE 

and now a modern piece 

While you can use some of the keywords I've provided to do your own research let me know if you want to see more of my collection. 
I've got a lot of minoyaki imagery on file!

Sunday, 6 September 2015


Well there's no way I could get the tradition 100 onto a png or jpg too big to read as a blog post !

Yes this is XI 3 and 12 examples of things you can do to #hanzi with #inkscape by varying fonts color and filters and mixtures thereof.

Support me via 


Saturday, 29 August 2015

Frost and Confusion

#hyakuninisshu 29  mitsune ooshi koochi #waka #japanesepoetry
aristocrat provincial governor and one of the people who helped compile the kokinshu anthology.

Kokoro ate ni
Orabaya oramu
Hatsu shimo
Oki madowaseru
Shiragiku no hana.

There's nothing quite like confronting damaged plants to freak out a gardener or the owner of a garden. This is one of those waka that describe a simple event but the poet's skilled use of language turns his description of his dismay into a masterpiece.

word its something like
heart hope or hit ? at /on
fold / break if only (i could) I wish to break / fold / bend?
oramu is reinforcing orabaya or oraba ya ?
first / new frost on
place = confused / perplexed his position state of mind and the flowers
white chrysantheums of flowers

It seems he's come outside to pick or select flowers for cutting and to his horror found there was a severe unexpected frost and his beloved flowers are at the least marred or will be when they thaw or a solid mass of ice that cant be cut without damaging the whole plant

I have to confess I'm not entirely sure I understand the second line as well as I could even after consulting the Bungo manual.

I'm welcome to ideas on that!

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Haiku and Linking Lines

Due to its popularity I'm reposting this with a few minor edits.

Two examples of  #Haiku #micropoetry one by me and one from #chiyo that demonstrate using assonance  to link links and images

I wrote this one this morning. The weather changed last night from unusually warm to more wintry after a night storm.

Now the weather's changed

With Puritan Reverence

The Crows speak of rain.

Crows are black and the English Puritans especially their ministers were noted for wearing black and dark colors and its Sunday in my timezone also I've been reading 17th century English History.

The sound of the crows calling early morning bring things together and the use of w in each line helps the linkage or three ideas sounds and images.

Now here's one from #Chiyo who lived in 18th century Japan.

Koe nakuba / sagi ushinawan / kesa no yuki

literally  voices if not (having)
herons disappear
now time = morning of snow

Chiyo's town of Matto is near Hakusan a mountain with snow fields now used for skiing. This is a winter poem so I'm keeping with the theme for this series of poems. Koe naKuba Kesa yuKi K K K   and the soft contrast of Sagi uSHinawan


Please support this blog via

Support me via 


Saturday, 15 August 2015

On writing (BAD) Haiku in English

On Writing (BAD) Haiku in English

Some Observations

Based on seeing bad haiku in twitter and elsewhere

1) No it is NOT just a sentence split into 3 lines!
of 3 lines of phrases

2) The middle line is supposed to be longer whether you're using the 5 7 5 pattern or not

try to read a translation of Basho or Issa or Chiyo or Shiki that includes notes and a word for word translation or transliteration of the original kanji and kana into romaji so you can study assonance in the original

4) Japanese Poetry does have "Metre"
based on Syllable count and Assonance and Image
all linked and balanced

5) yes emotions are allowed but don't be too emo or sentimental
Look up wabi sabi !
and if you're writing free form
read Song dynasty Chinese Ci / tzu translations too!
Basho and Issa probably did!

6) American and some other school systems should be banned from setting haiku writing as homework assignments  until after students have mastered basics like assonance and what the difference is between "blank" verse and "free" verse.

7) Please read a good translation of the Hyaku Nin Isshu or Heian Waka.
Then a good anthology of Haiku

Finally will someone please reprint Daniel Buchanan' One Hundred Famous Haiku!

For those who can't get a hold of one

Here's how he translates Basho's most famous Haiku

Into the old pond / A frog suddenly plunges / The sound of water

note how 3 separate things and images are linked
Action Cause Effect

the japanese is literally

 furu ike ya old pond ! / kawazu tobikomu frog leaps / water of sound

it shouldnt work but it does in both japanese and english!

my translation would be

the old temple pond

the frog leaps and dives in

the sound of water

 (temple inserted cos Basho is said to have written this while staying at a buddhist temple)

Please Study and Read haiku before trying to write them in English !

Support me via 


Saturday, 8 August 2015

The Memory of a Summer Storm

 #japanese poetry #waka

This poem is about 1500 years old and was composed in the Asuka period by Empress Jito. Its 2 in the #hyakuninisshu anthology and 1.28 in the #manyoshu

Haru sugite / Natsu ki ni kerashi / shirotae no /
koromo hosu tefu / ama no kaguyama

Spring has passed
Summer Surprise!
"White sleeves"
robes spread to dry they say
on Amakaguyama.

Now this was probably written  when the Imperial Place was south of this mountain which has a shinto shrine and isn't actually very high (google a photo!)
though one commentator claims it was written at the fujiwara palace north of  mountain.

A point I have seen NO English language commentators make is that the use of kerashi a fusion of keri and rashi indicates that something most UNseasonal has occurred. A lot of articles and essays and notes draw attention to the use of shirotae which could be translated as white sleeves or white garment and often refers to other white things like snow or frost or fog anything white that covers something else.

These white sleeves are not those of modern kimonos but something more like the big sleeves you see in NO or Kabuki drama that Shinto priests wear so I do mean BIG sleeves!

A lot of scholars presume this is a reference to a legend about white robed heavenly dancers blah blah blah which leads to translators inserting references to angels that do not exist in the original text!

Tefu according to my Bungo Manual means or equals to iu they say and it is said and you may see it written as choo if you have a copy that changes the archaic Japanese into modern Japanese.

OH and the Yamato area while being surrounded by mountains ... well heavier snow usually occurs elsewhere and remember the reference to summer?

and yes I did take liberties with that line to emphasize kerashi !

This poem records a freak weather event! 

Saturday, 1 August 2015


#white #waka #tanka #hyakuninisshu

The most common color adjective in the famous #HyakuninIsshu anthology is white. Yes I went and counted. The next most common are red and black.

I counted 7 using shiro or shira or shirotae.

There  are a couple of more that use phrases and verbs that could be translated as white or whiten.

Poem 2 about seeing a mountain still snow capped  at the beginning of summer

shiro tae no white sleeves / robes

Poem 4 being seeing snow on Fuji also uses shirotae

Poem 6 refers to white frost shiro ki

Poem 29 compares and links heavy frost to whiteness and white chrysantheums shiragiku

Poem 31 compares light reflecting off a heavy fall of white snow to moonlight

yoshino no sato ni fureru shira yuki

Poem 37 shira tsuyu white dewdrops compared to jewels

Poem 76 compares clouds and waves

kumoi ni magoo okitsu shira nami

I'll be translating a few or all of these over the next few weeks !

Friday, 24 July 2015


#hanzi #kanji #asianlanguages

White is on my mind due to the recent and rare snowstorms in Australia.
Hence the color gradient on the outline of bai.

Copyright Julie Vaux 2015

Did you know white as shiro or shira is the most frequently used adjective in the famous 100 poets Japanese Anthology of Heian waka usually as a reference to snow or frost?

If anyone knows words for white in other Asian languages which I havnt listed here feel free to add them in the comments.


Saturday, 11 July 2015


Copyright Julie Vaux 2015

Would anyone like to see these collected into an ebook?

Thursday, 2 July 2015

CANG Green

Continuing on in our series on color adjectives we come to Cang

Copyright Julie Vaux 2015

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

What's Green? A Color Test

When you look at the graphic below which color do you think of? Blue or Green? I was looking at how a green blue slip fired at the #bisque stage and started thinking about green and the problem of deciding when a character translates a blue or green.

Let's take the best known character / word / adjective  as the first example since this seems to be one that any #Asian language #SinoJapanese #SinoKorean #sinoVietnamese or #Sinitic dialect  that uses #hanzi derived characters or has loan words from Chinese  (also known as #kanji or #hanja) uses

Copyright Julie Vaux 2015 

and just to complicate things one site said Blue in Korean is paran and Green chorasaek but only gave the Hangul and the one Korean speaker I know said
green is chorak ?  Thank You "K.." for letting me run a quick response test!

If you choose to comment please mention if you were viewing on a mobile or larger screen in case that makes a difference to color perception especially given my use of a  two color gradient fill as part of the test?

Saturday, 13 June 2015

Basho's CROWS

Crow or CROWS
#haiku scholars and fans often debate the use of #karasu in a famous #autumn #haiku by #Basho.

Kare eda ni / karasu no tomari keri  / aki no kure

Bare / dry branch on / at
crow(s) connective on / of stop
autumn end of or autumn sunset

Personally I give more consideration as to whether  kure means sunset or seasons end?

Given the reference to bare branches I prefer seasons end.

Regarding whether crow should be singular or plural may I note that  corvids flock!

I actually have a small raven clan living in the immediate area and even when the flock spreads out to feed if I see one their mate is usually near by and even after fledglings grow up and move away there's usually a consistent core group of five or six who stay together. I opt for crows plural unless Japanese crows behave differently?

Saturday, 6 June 2015

Another Autumn PNG for you !

Another Autumn PNG for YOU

#freebie #png  created with #inkscape #hanzi #kanji

I've trying to evoke ... invoke ... thoughts of autumn leaves fading with torn edges ... let me know if or how you use it?

Saturday, 30 May 2015


I've been busy editing images for scarves for #redBubble so here's My Autumn Giveaway #freebie copyright free public domain image for you to play with!
Also I just felt earlier versions didnt work or werent special enuff

Its  png format so have fun adding backgrounds and layers and let me know if it inspires anything! This was an svg file created using #inkscape and then exported as a png for uploading.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

That Elephant Guy

#samantabhadra #buddhistart #boddhisattva #fugen

Wandering thru stores that sell chinese ceramics or buddhist supplies one could be forgiven for thinking Chinese and other Mahayana Buddhists only revere Kuanyin Hotei and the Buddha. I suspect there's a factory somewhere where some one said ... just change the hands in the mold!

There are other Boddhisattvas.




Patron of the Lotus Sutra Speaker of the 10 Vows of the Boddhisattva

Boddhisattva of Action and law this entity is also known as 
Chinese Fu Hsien Pu Xian Bo Hsian 
Korea PoHyon
Vietnam Pho Hien
Mongolia Qamugha Sain
Tibet Kuntuzanpo 

Paintings and sculptures usually depict him in a trinity or group with the Buddha or other Boddhisattvas but also sometimes on his elephant and other times standing or on a lotus throne.

The Tibetans seem to prefer depict him in Tantric congress. 

Support me via 


Saturday, 9 May 2015

Chinese Blue and White Ceramics

I started this series showing you a medley from various Asian nations and I'ld finish it just showing ceramics from China.

The Classic David vases

A Qing period piece

Ming dynasty

Note this has been reposted cos I just find out I uploaded it to the wrong blog!

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Sometsuke Japanese blue and white

#SOMETSUKE #japaneseceramics

The Japanese like other Asian nations started doing blue and white ware as soon as they could source a good white stone ware clay and the the cobalt ore for blue slip.

While the Japanese do copy some Chinese motifs they also attend to have a greater use of geometric or textile inspired patterns probably influenced by the experimentation with mixing weaving tiedyeing handpainting and embroidery you see on many Noh and Kabuki costumes and the kimono of the wealthier merchants and aristocrats. Bear in mind most people had to wear ramie hemp or cotton or a much rougher  lower grade "raw" silk.

My first example is "Old" KO Imari. Its very similar to Chinese ceramics and yet  the same kilns were also producing the first Japanese polychrome wares.

This is from the Seto kilns Note the box shape probably influenced by lacquer ware and the beautiful composition.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Kingfisher Blues

Kingfisher Blues
Two Examples of Korean Blue and White Ware
#korean #ceramics

Who ever throw these vase shapes was a master of their craft with skills equal to the finest Chinese potters.  Korean painting while always vigorous on ceramics and other medium shows both a "folk" style with broad strong bold strokes and yet also very refined minimalism images like the bamboos in the top image.
Its also noteworthy how beautifully Korean paintings on ceramics flow around the form whether faceted or smooth.

The koreans also tend to avoid overall complicated patterns unlike some chinese pieces covered from footing to brim.

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Vietnamese Blue and White Ware

The #Chinese #ceramics industry was not the only one using cobalt underglaze.
Certainly they were the first to use cobalt and NOT in a lead based glaze but other nations soon adapted to using it as well.

The #Vietnamese potters tended to use a darker more indigo underglaze and smaller shapes. Its a lesser known ware possibly because the export trade peaked and then dropped off during the 16th and 17th centuries as the Vietnamese like the Japanese exploited the disruptions to trade caused by conflicts between a failing Ming dynasty and the spread southwards of the Manchus.

Plus the introduction of polychrome wares and the European ceramics industry learning to adapt white EW clays to create their own wares reduced demand.

Here's some pictures to enjoy. The underglaze pigments seem a little coarser but the brushwork is often delightly fluid.

The pieces I have shown here actually date back to the 15th century.

This final image although looking more "chinese" is indeed Vietnamese!

Some sites  use the word Annamese rather than Vietnamese.