One of my favorite pieces in my store right now is this set of three small flower vases in the shape of circle, triangle, and square.

Each of these vases is small enough to fit in a child's hand, and they are cute on their stand-alone pieces, but I insist on selling them as a set instead of selling them separately. The reason for this is that there is a great meaning to having circles, triangles, and squares in a line.

The reason for this is based on the teachings of Zen, which also fascinated the famous Steve Jobs. In Zen, the shapes of circles, triangles, and squares are iconography, showing "The secret of nirvana".

まる、さんかく、しかく, 禅僧, 仙厓

(Source: ○△□|Introduction to the Idemitsu Collection|Idemitsu Museum of Art, ,retrieved on April 2, 2021)

This above picture was drawn by Sengai Gibon (1750 -1837), a Zen monk in the Edo period.

According to him, a square is a "framework," that is, a situation of a person trapped in "common sense", and a triangle represents the figure of a person in "Zen meditation". And the circle means "empty," or " infinite," a symbol for the state of mind that has achieved "nirvana".

And, both "square" and "triangle" have the potential to become "circle" someday. Such a teaching of the Zen monk is contained in these lined up symbols.

This iconography has been followed by artists and architects of Japanese descent, including Isamu Noguchi, and the spirit of the Sado, and can be seen from time to time in various works and tea ceremonies that are inspired by Zen philosophy.

So, those my flower vases are not just a “Kawaii" shape. If you display them on your shelf or on the windowsill, you may become aware of the space of Zen... maybe.

Well, thats all for today. See you next time!

【まる・さんかく・しかく のはなし】




circle, triangle, square, Sengai Gibon

(出典:○△□|収蔵品の紹介「出光コレクション」|出光美術館, ,2021年4月2日検索)

上の図は、江戸時代の禅僧である仙厓義梵(せんがい ぎぼん: 1750年 -1837年)が描いたもの。