Introduction to Calligraphy
The ancient art of Calligraphy originated from the Chinese culture which is regarded as the most sublime form of art. It is not only a practical technique for writing Chinese characters, but also a unique Oriental art of expression and a branch of learning or discipline as well. As a branch of learning it is rich in content, including the evolution of writing styles, development and rules of technique, history of calligraphy, calligraphers and their inheritance in art, and evaluation of calligraphy as a work of art. This branch of learning is wide ranging and deep, forming an important part of Chinese culture. Much like chopsticks, calligraphy used to be wholly Chinese. As Chinese culture spread to Korea, Japan, Vietnam and Singapore, calligraphy became a unique feature of Oriental art.

Calligraphy demands careful planning and execution as its strokes are permanent very much different from other visual art techniques. A high level of discipline is required to make the experience satisfying. It is a mental exercise that coordinates the mind and the body in choosing the best style in the expression of the content of the passage.

A quote from Jan Stuart,

“Written Chinese, which is not an alphabetic script, developed more than three thousand years ago. The first written characters were pictographs, but the vast majority of characters are abstract graphs that consist of lines, hooks, and dots in set, reproducible patterns. By the fourth century A.D., eight different script types existed (see Pl. I). Each type of script has its own compositional principles and distinctive strokes: rounded strokes for script used on bronze and seals; flared diagonals for clerical script; and thickening and thinning strokes for standard, running, and cursive scripts. Running and cursive scripts are the most fluent, abbreviated forms of Chinese script. Cursive script is the extreme example, with the characters often being written with a single continuous movement of the calligrapher's brush.

The finest Chinese calligraphy requires that the assemblage of columns of characters (traditionally read vertically from right to left) possesses an inner dynamism that invites the reader to re-create the process of writing. Calligraphy is judged as much in terms of rhythmic cadence and artistic expression as it is for legibility. Good calligraphy is said to resemble ascending dragons and soaring phoenixes.”

With a history of four to five thousand years, the art of calligraphy is rich and profound in content and has attracted the attention of artists the world over.
 

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