black scribble-like form with embossing

%C2%A9 Maki Haku

Ren - 4, 1960s

Not on Viewexpand_more

Here Maki created a mass of random, tangled strokes that cannot be decoded. Yet they evoke cursive writing in Japanese and Chinese, tempting viewers to try to read them. To those unfamiliar, Chinese characters are logograms—characters or “pictures” that represent a word. While these characters might seem to possess an infinite number of possible stroke combinations, in practice there are only eight types of basic strokes that are used. Maki’s invented cursive makes use of these strokes, which makes the whole appear writing-like, but each character has too few or too many strokes, which renders it illegible.

Ren - 4
Artist Life
1924 - 2000
Accession Number
Catalogue Raisonne
Haku Maki Catalogue Raisonné (unlisted)
Curator Approved

This record has been reviewed by our curatorial staff but may be incomplete. These records are frequently revised and enhanced. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email

Does something look wrong with this image? Let us know

black scribble-like form with embossing

© Maki Haku

Because of © restrictions, we can only show you a small image of this artwork.