Jalaluddin Rumi, a renowned Persian mystic poet of the 13th century, has been inspiring me through his poems in recent years. His spirituality and the power of his imagery evoke my image of painting and urge me to put them in shapes and colors. I paint with watercolor because I feel it is best suited to express the mood of Rumi’s poems.
I came from Kyoto, an ancient capitol city of Japan which has a long spiritual tradition of Zen. There are many beautiful Zen temples in Kyoto that I have known since my childhood. My interest in Rumi’s spirituality grew alongside Zen Buddhism.
I find common ground between them.
In my paintings I try not to illustrate Rumi’s poems but rather illuminate inner human spirit which also existed within Rumi.
The following verse is from one of Rumi’s Rubai which inspired the cover painting, titled “Rose and Thorns.”
My face has the color of autumn
And yours, the color of spring.
Unless these two become one
Roses and thorns cannot grow.
Roses and thorns
appear to be opposites.
The gardener laughs at those
Who see them as opposites.
(Translated by Dr. Rasoul Sorkhabi)
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