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The art of calligraphy

By Huang Ruo Ping


Calligraphy or Chinese calligraphy is not only a kind of text input, it’s also an art. It can be an art for several reasons.

First of all, Xu Shen (AD 58 - AD 147), the most distinguished Chinese linguist and the scribes in Chinese history, also the pioneer of Chinese Philology, once creatively have composed the Chinese first system illustration writing classics--"Analytical Dictionary of Characters". In Xu Shen’s book, he has made the explanation to the characters. Cang Jie made ​​early text, in accordance with the shape to draw the body, so called “text" (the original meaning of the text is a texture, pattern); and then create a (ideographic characters), shaped sound field, in order to gain of the text, the text would be the so-called "word”. Chinese characters as is its set of words one of the six different ways, and most basic method of character. The Chinese writing pictographic essence with paints pictures relates in together. Painting is art.

Secondly, the Chinese character is a two-dimensional character. Just like the two-dimensional code is different from the bar code, Chinese characters are characters rather than Latin, English and Arabic is composed by the letter. Words are spelled out left to right or from right to left. Calligraphy is an art, as with the painting art to pursue beauty. Word spells which by the letter can’t be read if they changed, but Chinese characters are not alphabetic phonetic spell. For normal use, there are thousands of Chinese characters, and each is different. Additionally, Chinese characters of word formationThe word is composed by the character, the writing is illegible can also read out, traditional Chinese characters even more so. Japanese and Korean language reform to phonetic, like Latin and English, dozens of notes will be enough. The Korean language has 40 notes, and Japanese composed in part Chinese and part of the phonetic alphabet. It is simple and simplified the language expression, but its artistic charm of calligraphy also loses. As you can see, a good Japanese and Korean calligraphy is inseparable from the character, even the modern Chinese calligraphy also likes to use traditional characters.

And then, Chinese character writing has used the writing brush, the ink and the rice paper. Before the writing brush appears Chinese writing has already experienced for more than 2000 years. From Oracle to the Big Seal and Small Seal, and they are a suitable for hard pen also is the sword pen or the pen and non-brush calligraphy fonts. The main function of this text is to record, dissemination and exchange of information. As I mentioned in the articleStarting From Character And Text," the brush was invented in about 600 BC, Before seal script transformed to official script. The writing brush has enriched the writing line, the size and changed its shape. This is an important factor in art. A.D. 105 year Cai Lun improved the papermaking technique, when the rice paper appear calligraphy art formally entered its magnificent palace. The ink appeared earlier then the writing brush. The ink points five colors, while ink drop into the rice paper, it will show its ink rhyme structured, depth shading , texture visible , this is a special artistic effects fountain ink on rice paper ,  a special artistic effects of calligraphy.

Chinese calligraphy as art also lies in its beauty. There are four reasons why it’s so beautiful: physical beauty, dynamic beauty, tone of color beauty and content beauty.

The Chinese writing can becomes an integrity text writing type; because it starts from the inscription on animal bones and tortoise shells to the Big Seal, Small Seal, Official Script, Regular Script, and Cursive script, all of these script have been through the test of time, these experiences made each individual character and typeface have physical beauty. The beauties of Chinese characters are mainly passing down by bones, tripods and stone. For example, stone fonts that most important of which are handed down from ancient prose on stones from old characters carved around 1050 BC; A.D.183 CAI Yong XI-ping stone script; A.D.837 carved into Tang Kaicheng stone Jingbei script. There are many variations of Chinese characters written or variants, some words have more than ten kinds of writing are not missing the sublime shape, just like blessing and long life. No matter where these words are, they are all very loveliness. This is the physical beauty of Chinese characters.

Just like other lettering text, Chinese characters are written with a pen, pencil or writing brush. As long as a pen to write out by hand, it will have a sense of moving. The pen moves forms the line to become the character, this is the writing dynamic beauty. And dynamic beauty of Chinese characters is particularly prominent, seal script, the official script and regular script, running script and cursive script is more obvious, such as Wang Xizhi 's running script "The Preface to Orchid Pavilion" ; Tang Zhang Xu 's " Cursive Sutra" and Huai Su 's " Autobiography Post ." These constitute the dynamic strokes and lines of text appear, like flowing water and running cloud. This is the dynamic beauty of Chinese writing.

When writing Chinese calligraphy, there is a speed control rhythm, like a symphony’s cadence. This is also an aspect of dynamic beauty. When a calligraphy written, you can see the words have their weights, some heavy and some light. The lines can be large or small and shades or strokes. The picture has appeared a sense of level. This is the tone of color beauty.

Objects or contents of calligraphy, thousand-hundred classes, or religious belief, or a chronicle of life, or an inspirational motto, or poetry, it has everything expected to find. These contents and the different environment coordinate seductive reverie, deepen understanding to the writer, and calligraphy connotation comprehension. Wang Xizhi 's running script " The Preface to Orchid Pavilion ," not only has the physical beauty, dynamic beauty and color beauty of calligraphy, it also describes the issue happened at The Orchid Pavilion, and to express the author 's experience of things . When you appreciate the “The Preface to Orchid Pavilion," you will see the physical beauty, dynamic beauty and color beauty of it, and also experience the beauty of its contents. This is the four beauties that a good calligraphy can't lack.

Calligraphy art is an aesthetic. Aesthetics is part of people's lives. The pursuit of perfection is the nature of people, and the pursuit of beauty is endless. This is because aesthetic is changing, and the writing of Chinese characters has an unchanged side, also it has the freedom to change. Just as society has both legal and democratic freedom, has a strong vitality. In 5,000 years of history in China, Chinese characters have long historical development process, and a long process of change. All full text in various fonts represents the beauty of its era. Besides Chinese characters, there are no other words have such historical development process. Its vitality enriched its artistic value. Calligraphy’s advantage will continually find out by human, and it will keep disseminated its artistic brilliance.


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Calligraphy Culture">Calligraphy Culture


  作者    黄若平(Hamish)


书法或汉字书法不单是一种文字输入法, 还是一门艺术。它能够成为一门艺术有几方面原因。

首先, 公元121年许慎中国第一部以六书理论编撰的字典《说文》时给文字作过解释, "盖依类象形,故谓之文。其后形声相益,即谓之字"。汉文字的像形是其组字的六种方式之一, 也是最基本的组字方法。汉文字的象形本质就与画画联系在一起了。画画即艺术。

其次, 汉字是一种二维文字。就像二维码有别于条形码一样, 汉字是方块字而拉丁文。英文。阿拉伯文由字母 组成。单词是自左到右或自右到左拼出来。书法艺术是美术。与绘画艺术一样追求美。而美是不定形的。美是变化的。由字母拼出来的单词变化了就读不出来了。而汉字不是由字母拼音拼出来, 常用汉字有几千个, 每个都不一样。加上汉字构词,词由字组成,书写时潦草些也能读的出来。繁体字更是如此。日,韩文字改革为拼音文字后,和英文拉丁文一样几十个音符就足够用了。朝鲜语有40个音符,日语用部分汉语和部分拼音字母组成。可谓简单。简化了语言表达。可是其书法的艺术魅力也就失去了。你可以看到, 好的日韩书法都离不开汉字。甚至现代中国书法也喜欢用繁体字。

再就是, 汉字书写使用了毛笔, 墨和宣纸。毛笔出现之前中国文字已经经历了两千多年。从甲骨文开始到大篆小篆,它们是一种适合用硬笔也就是刀笔或碳笔而非毛笔书写的字体。这种文字主要功能,就是记录、传播和交流信息。在汉之前。正如我在《从文字开始》一文提到, 毛笔是在公元前600年左右发明,在文字隶化之前。毛笔丰富了文字的线条、大小并改变了它的形状。这是一个美术的重要因素。墨比毛笔更早就有了。东汉元兴元年(105年)蔡伦改进了造纸术。一当宣纸出现书法艺术就正式走进了它辉煌的殿堂。所 谓“墨分五色,”毛笔醮墨一笔落在宣纸上,其墨韵层次分明,深浅浓淡,纹理可见,这是宣纸的润墨性,一种书法的特殊艺术效果。



中国文字成为完整的文字,从甲骨文开始到大篆小篆隶书楷书行书草书还有各种名家字体都经历代书法大家们的精心推敲而成就。 各种字体以及它们的每个单字都经历时间的磨炼。其结果就是每个单字和字体的形体美。汉文字美丽的形体在历史上主要由甲骨、钟鼎和石刻流传下来。石刻流传下来的文字字体最重要的有公元前1050年左右刻成的石鼓文大篆;公元183年蔡邕刻的熹平石经隶书;唐开成二年(公元837年)刻成的唐开成石经碑楷书。汉字还有许多变化写法或变体,有的字有十多种写法都美妙绝伦也不失其字形如福字、寿字。这些字无论写在什么地方都很美。这是汉字的形体美。


书写汉字书法时, 还有一个速度节奏的控制,就象一首交响乐有抑扬顿挫。这也是动态美的一个方面。当一幅字写好后,你就可以看的出字有轻重、笔画有大小、线条有浓淡。画面产生一种层次感。这就是色调美。


书法艺术是一门美学。美学则是人们生活的一部分。追求完美是人的本性。对美的追求是没有尽头的。这是因为美是变化的而汉字的书写, 有它不变的一面,也有它变化的自由度。就象社会既有法制又有民主自由一样,具有很强的生命力。汉字漫长的发展历史, 悠久的变化过程。上下5000年的中国历史。自从成为完整的文字各种字体都代表了其时代的美。除汉字之外其它文字没有这样的历史发展过程。它的生命力充实了它的艺术价值。会不断地为人们发现,放发出它的艺术辉煌。