You have seen it everywhere. The beautiful strokes in black brushed on a canvas. Meaning something, but were not sure what. You see it in tattoo’s left on the skin to declare deep significance to the wearer, and often out of curiosity we ask what it means. It is a peaceful mystery, we are drawn to it naturally. The infamy of Chinese calligraphy has become an art to be understood and learned. Not only do we want it on our walls and skin, we want to become even more personal with it. You can learn Chinese calligraphy, and create the same beautiful words as do the masters.
Chinese calligraphy began in 213 B.C. by Prime Minister Li Szu who created over 3000 characters to be used by the Chinese scholars. The five different styles, zhuan-shu, li-shu, kai-shu,xing-shu, and cao-shu, are all forms used in Chinese calligraphy. One word can be written in different ways depending on the style and the execution of that style. The word can be fluid, formal, exact, whimsical it all is in the hand of the application and unique individual deliverance of the strokes. Many masters from the beginning of origin to now have left their work for us to enjoy as art today. When you begin to study calligraphy, you will adopt a style which is distinctive to you and perfect the strokes as your own form of self expression. The artistic value of Chinese calligraphy is in the skill and method is exclusive to the particular creative ability delivering it. When well done, the words interpretations are more leaning to abstract art, then anything else.
As you learn Chinese calligraphy, you will notice that traditionally certain materials are used in a particular way to produce the eloquent results. The Chinese use special brushes made of rabbit hair or sheep. One brush is for sharpness in line drawing, and the other for rhythm and depth all equaling to the subject’s inner self. Also used in Chinese calligraphy, is a thick ground ink combined with water and applied to Chinese paper (also called rice paper) or silk. This form shows depth, contrast, density and texture and creates a rhythmic balance. When the Chinese apply color to this art form, it is to show the subject’s characteristics or moods. Another unique quality to Chinese calligraphy is the poetry inscribed within it. It becomes the artist’s signature or inscription exclusive to them. Chinese Calligraphy minimizes the use of space, sometimes leaving a canvas almost blank, with just a few brushstrokes leaving a word to contemplate on. The styles of this writing do not embrace crowding compositions with too much and badly placed brushstrokes. The rules behind learning Chinese calligraphy are to invite simplicity, balance, beauty, and originality of style. You should possess graceful execution and represent the depth of meaning of each stroke, whether using a brush or ink. The idea behind Chinese calligraphy is to find understanding and beauty is simple delivery of who you are as the artist and what you are projecting as meaning with the chosen style adopted.
When you learn Chinese calligraphy, it is easy to become infatuated with the art form and easy to be immersed completely into cultural richness that has been alive for over a 1000 years.