Maris World Standard Table
​©︎2014 Liku Maria
1.After inventing this form of painting in 2009, Liku Maria initially referred to it as “Maria sand painting.” In 2015, she shortened the name to Maris for the sake of simplicity. 

(“maris” is a registered trademark in Japan, no. 5794799)

2.The invention of Maris has enabled blind people to access paintings, and it thus embodies the concept of “Everyone is equal in front of Venus.” At its core is Liku Maria’s belief that art is expression of love.

3.The name of Maris is also inspired by “Stella Maris,” which means “Star of the Sea” in Latin. This is an appellation for the Virgin Mary and evokes the image of a guiding star that fills everyone with hope.


A contemporary art ideology and movement launched by Liku Maria, Marisism expresses the theme of human equality. It is grounded in Liku Maria’s vision that “Everyone is equal in front of Venus,” and is a call to action to spread human equality across society as well. It further evolves Joseph Beuys’ concept of social sculpture and expresses it in practical form.

Maris paintings

This refers to Marisism paintings, which are created using the Maris mode of expression.

Maris expression

Conceived by Liku Maria, this is the world’s first mode of expression to make paintings accessible to blind people through the senses of touch and smell. It is based on the Maris World Standard Table,1 and expresses color value (lightness) through particle size, and hue through scent. Various colors can be expressed by using different combinations of particles and scents. Since inventing this mode in 2009 and mapping out the Maris World Standard Table in 2010, Liku Maria has used them to produce a steady stream of Maris works.

1. The ten lightness (value) levels and ten hues of Maris are based on the color theory rules of Johannes Itten. The Maris World Standard Table is shown on p. 56. Katsumi Kumakura, a printing art director, provided advice on the design of the colors depicted in the table.

The two core elements of Maris expression
Element 1: Expression of lightness through particle size
When viewing a painting, the human eye derives the bulk of color information from lightness. Accordingly, Maris focuses on conveying color through mainly lightness.2 Varying degrees of lightness between white and black are divided into ten levels, and each level is assigned a certain particle size. In this way, color information is conveyed through the sense of touch. By learning the rule that colors become darker as particle size increases, even people who are blind can start to “see” paintings. 

Particle size = Monochromatic painting

For five years following the invention of Maris, Liku Maria experimented with improvements to her standard particle sizes, enlisting the support of the Nippon Lighthouse Welfare Center for The Blind and many blind people. This culminated in 2014 with the release of the Revised Maris World Standard Table. While Maris does not specify the material to be used as particles, Liku Maria mainly works with sand. 

2. Under the schema conceived by Liku Maria in 2009, lightness (value) provides 85% of color information, while hue contributes 10%

Element 2: Expression of hue through scent
Herb essential oils are brushed on the particles of the completed painting to convey the different hues with different scents. For example, the fragrances of lemon and lavender represent yellow and purple, respectively.

The scents typically disappear in just one day, but repeated application allows the essential oils to collect in the crevices between particles. As a result, the scents can be maintained, somewhat like a small perfume bottle left open. Generally, ten applications of essential oils are enough for the fragrances to remain detectable for one month to people with a robust sense of smell, though some individuals may have trouble noticing them. Essential oils are not applied to paintings with intricately interlaced hues.3

Scent = Colorful painting

3. As a pointer added to the Maris World Standard Table on August 18, 2018, scents are applied to paintings only when the area covered by a certain hue measures at least 10 x 5 centimeters. If scents are used on smaller areas, it becomes difficult to distinguish them, and consequently color information cannot be accurately conveyed
Grain size = Monochromatic painting (85% of color information)
スクリーンショット 2018-12-03 20.28.56.png
Grain size + Scent = Colorful Painting (10% of color information)
スクリーンショット 2018-12-03 20.29.10.png
Note: For simplicity, the Maris Method does not express saturation, which accounts for the remaining 5% of color information.