Chinese calligraphyThe history of Chinese calligraphy is as long as that of China itself. Calligraphy is one of the highest forms of Chinese art. In studying Chinese calligraphy one must learn something of the origins of Chinese language and of how they were originally written. However, except for those brought up in the artistic traditions of the country, its aesthetic significance seems to be very difficult to grasp.
Chinese calligraphy serves the purpose of conveying thought but also shows the 'abstract' beauty of the line. Rhythm, line, and structure are more perfectly embodied in calligraphy than in painting or sculpture.
Regarded as the most abstract and sublime form of art in Chinese culture, "Shu Fa" (calligraphy) is often thought to be most revealing of one's personality. During the imperial era, calligraphy was used as an important criterion for selection of executives to the Imperial court. Unlike other visual art techniques, all calligraphy strokes are permanent and incorrigible, demanding careful planning and confident execution. Such are the skills required for an administrator / executive. While one has to conform to the defined structure of words, the expression can be extremely creative. To exercise humanistic imagination and touch under the faceless laws and regulations is also a virtue well appreciated.
By controlling the concentration of ink, the thickness and absorptivity of the paper, and the flexibility of the brush, the artist is free to produce an infinite variety of styles and forms. In contrast to western calligraphy, diffusing ink blots and dry brush strokes are viewed as a natural impromptu expression rather than a fault. While western calligraphy often pursues font-like uniformity, homogeneity of characters in one size is only a craft. To the artist, calligraphy is a mental exercise that coordinates the mind and the body to choose the best styling in expressing the content of the passage. It is a most relaxing yet highly disciplined exercise indeed for one's physical and spiritual well being. Historically, many calligraphy artists were well-known for their longevity.
Chinese Calligraphy - StylesThere are literally thousands of styles of Chinese calligraphy. Basically, they can be categorized into the following scripts: JiaGuWen, Zhuan Shu (JinWen included), Li Shu, Kai Shu, Xing Shu, and Cao Shu.
Chinese Calligraphy - Training
- Learn how to handle the brush and to grid the ink
- Practice strokes and lines by write over in black ink the trace lines of characters.
- Copy from the good calligraphy models, using graph paper.
- Learn to raise the wrist and elbow in making a stroke. This is the method for writing medium sized or larger characters.
- Practice, practice and practice.