STUDIO
CLASSROOM
PLAYGROUND
COLOPHON
DESIGN IS REVEALING

THINGS THAT CANNOT BE COMPARED
THE PILLOW BOOK OF SEI SHŌNAGON

Sei Shōnagon (c. 965–1017) is considered one of the greatest writers of prose in classical Japanese literature. She was a lady-in-waiting to Empress Sadako, and The Pillow Book is a collection of diary entries, character sketches, conversations, and poetry exchanges from the years she served at court. The most notable and, to us, delightful passages are the 164 lists of things she loved or loathed. We admire the originality of her observations, and feature our favorite list at the bottom of our letterhead.

POMME DE REINETTE
FRENCH CHILDREN'S SONG

We quote the lyrics from a French children’s song on the flap of our envelope for its playful use of language. It reminds us of the unexpected possibilities that seem to spring so effortlessly from the world view of children.

A LETTER TO HIS CAT
PERSONAL WRITINGS OF OKAKURA KAKUZO

Okakura Kakuzo (1863–1919) was a scholar and cultural critic who devoted his life to the preservation of traditional Japanese culture. As a curator at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts he became an advisor to art collector Isabella Gardner. The nature of their private relationship is ambiguous, but a letter he wrote to his cat, Kochan—which was in Isabella’s care at the time—is revealing. Unlike the specificity of Sei Shōnagon’s list, Okakura’s letter is suggestive rather than depictive. An excerpt appears on Angie’s card.

A BEE
MATSUO BASHŌ IN THE ESSENTIAL HAIKU

Matsuo Bashō (1644–1694) was a Japanese poet of the Edo period. We chose to print one of his haiku on Mark’s card because we find inspiration in his humorous reflections on nature and his mastery of this concise poetic form.

RESOURCES