KEI DO: A DEFINITION
Literally translated, Kei Do means the Way of VIEWING. The school of Kei Do teaches the long-time traditions, conventions and disciplines which have brought bonsai, grass planting, suiseki (viewing stones) and the art of display to the confines of a room, specifically the tokonoma, or alcove.
The spirit of Display
The significance of the art of display is to give status to the one's creation or collection, and on the other hand, to exhibit cultivation technique as well as the innate aesthetics of the scene.
Connecting a small natural setting to the great outdoors within a limited space allows the viewer's imagination to capture the limitless universe. Thus the zest and charm of life itself unfold before the viewer.
We often hear the word staging in relation to Kei Do. The word staging may put undue emphasis on the act of producing the display, while the intent of bonsai and suiseki is one of grace, taste and elegance. They highlight not the host, but his or her refinement, taste and devotion to the art. To display them effectively may require a staging. But the method is never the goal. Artistry and quality are.
One needs no costly bonsai or suiseki, nor expensive tools and accessories to accomplish Kei Do. An atmosphere of elegance calls only for simplicity and modesty. Yet to create such a world, correctness and dignity can be achieved only through the conventions and rules of Kei Do.
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Play of Space
The word 'space' (ma) has a very special meaning for Japanese people. Space is not only that which we occupy, but also it is a rhythm, a time, a distance and a void. When we talk, we even value the physical space between words. Space is a necessity of our daily lives.
In the world of arts and crafts, space has always been a topic for discussion and the goal of a quest for adequacy. The school of Kei Do puts emphasis on space for the very same reason.
Kei Do not only discourages the meaningless placement of items, but indicates the rank of items to be displayed, by designating the principal and separating subordinates through the use of space. We strive to elevate space itself as a beautiful element of the whole.