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Chinese Calligraphy: The Typical Sign of Chinese Culture

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Chinese Calligraphy: The Typical Sign of Chinese Culture
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Calligraphy literally means “good writing”. However, Chinese calligraphy cannot be defined as just “writing” Chinese characters. Neither can it be described as a way of making Chinese characters look “more beautiful”. These are misassumptions often made. The most important aspect of it is, that it is an emotional form of art, as it carries the thoughts and feelings of the artist. Calligraphy has been an important feature of the Chinese culture for the past 4000 years.Calligraphy is an art which is unique to Asian cultures and is regarded as the most sublime form of art in the Chinese culture

Chinese Calligraphy, also known as brush calligraphy can be identified as one of the four critical standards for Chinese literati. The four skills are: calligraphy (shu), painting (hua), playing on a stringed musical instrument (Qin) and a strategic board game (Qi). Calligraphy is an art which is unique to Asian cultures and is regarded as the most sublime form of art in the Chinese culture.

Characteristics of Chinese calligraphy

Several styles of writing can be distinguished, such as seal, official or clerical, running or semi-cursive, cursive and regular. Each style has its own specific features and purpose. There exist seven basic strokes, also known as the seven mysteries. The basic strokes consist of a dot, a horizontal line, a vertical line, a sweeping downward stroke, a sharp curve and a downward stroke.

Combined, the various styles, shapes and forms are infinite and depend on factors like the concentration of ink, the flexibility of the paint brush, the thickness of the paper and the absorptive capacity of it. A specific feature of calligraphy is that all strokes are permanent and incorrigible. Each stroke demands careful planning and a confident execution with a steady hand. Because this form of art is so sublime and abstract, in the imperial era, the general assumption originated that calligraphy had the ability to reveal one’s personality. Therefore, this characteristic was used as an significant criteria for selecting executives for the Imperial Court.




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Last Updated on Sunday, 15 August 2010 15:53