The Philosophy Floor by mcah

The Philosophy Floor

An Ai-Naidari calligrapher is of the Public Servant caste. To be a calligrapher is not solely to paint words beautifully, but also to choose beautiful words.


Much of a calligrapher's work is commissioned.


The aphorisms are usually painted on various media, including paper, wood, or floors. A scroll may be requested for a special occasion, such as an heir's esar ritual. A specific aphorism may be requested, but it is not atypical for a calligrapher to be asked to select something appropriate.

Books of Precedents and Books of ExceptionEdit

A calligrapher may be called upon to make a copy of the Book of Precedents, the Book of Castes, or the Book of Exceptions. All calligraphers have iskad for the most frequently requested books: a "soul" of the book, a copy naked of all embellishments, containing merely the text with annotations on the traditional illuminations and letter treatments.

Generally, a commissioner will request a sample first. It is typical to choose the first page as one's sample for the Book of Exceptions.

Nemet SlipsEdit

While some families created their nemet slips for the traditional game, it is customary for Public Servants who work with paper to have a set available.

Philosophy FloorsEdit

Philosophy floors are rare, for it requires great skill to maintain their symmetry and beauty from center to edge.


These are small circles of translucent paper marked with a beneficial word or symbol. In older, more superstitious times they were used at parties, thrown over the heads of the celebrants, and whichever clung to you was your portent. These days when they are seen at all, they are exchanged as a symbol of good wishes or good fortune, and are usually personalized in a way ridan were not originally.

Seal DesignsEdit

A commission for a seal or House sigil design does not come often, and the calligrapher rarely sees the stone stamp carved from the final design. The final seal is on a cylinder long enough for the hand to comfortably hold when using it to stamp the House sigil on official documents.

The design is sketched in lead and is usually reviewed by the one commissioning the seal. Traditionally, an abstract design is used.



Paper prayer-words are not as common as shaped incenses or (of course) flowers as gifts for the convalescent, but they are a kind custom, and pleasurable: one burns them when one is healthy, as an acknowledgement of what was and is no longer. A word, such as body-peace, is painted onto a stiff piece of paper and folded it into a triangle so it could stand on its own.

Travel PiecesEdit

Osulked visit with Ai-Naidar of all castes when they travel, so they can remain familiar and comfortable with all the people they serve. They will often leave their work as they go. This may include:

Freehand PaintingsEdit


A calligrapher may embellish the cover of a family's Book of Exceptions.


A calligrapher may inscribe a virtue over a door.


A calligrapher works primarily in paints. Paints that have been mentioned are:

  • carbon black
  • gold leaf
  • ground oceanstone
  • nacre
  • rose
  • sizing
  • umber
  • verdigris
  • vermillion

Notable CalligraphersEdit