form …

… is also pattern, frame and shape: frame is merely the place that marks the beginning of another framing: enframing: the gap of a printer's measure. "Where does the frame take place. Does it take place. Where does it begin. Where does it end. What is its internal limit. Its external limit And its surface between the two limits."[1] katachi is the romanised form of the Japanese kanji that signifies form. katachi refers to form and also shape, appearance, figure.

katachi in its kanji form (here the word is phonetically romanised) is made from two sets of strokes, or two elements. The first element comprises four strokes (two parallel horizontal lines crossed by two parallel vertical lines). This once signified a grille or lattice window: in the context of katachi it means pattern or frame. It looks a little like # (cross hatching) – which also marks an entity in html e.g. &#8211. The second element is made from three small strokes – one above the other – along the right hand height of the hatch.

Some scholars think these strokes represent hairs, others think they constitute more specifically hairs that indicate 'brush' (which once signified exclusively a tool of writing/mark making) – giving more specifically to write down/copy a pattern. The point here is the role the p(r)ictograph plays in the constitution of meaning(s).
[1] Jacques Derrida, The Truth in Painting (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987) 62-63
image credits: Kenneth G. Henshall, A Guide to Remembering Japanese Characters (Rutland: Charles E. Tuttle, 1988) 13
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