Basic Chinese Calligraphy Tools
This Wednesday’s Omeida Chinese Academy culture class was Calligraphy!书法!
Calligraphy is an important component of Chinese art. Its presentation format is an art that hinges on Chinese characters. And Chinese characters are ideographic in nature. Combinations of strokes of characters are open to many possibilities. In comparison with other ethnicities’ phonographic writing system, Chinese characters are more figurative.
Also, apart from possessing a complete set of rules of brush (dot, horizontal stroke, falling stroke, vertical stroke, hook, etc), the calligraphy of Chinese characters has also established a developed aesthetic system.
Following the rules of the combination of Chinese characters and varying the combinations can express versatility in the styles of the art of calligraphy, creating aesthetics of different appearances and tastes.
Teacher Zhuge gave us a vivid lesson about how to write Calligraphy. Calligraphy is the stylized artistic writing of Chinese characters. It is the written form of Chinese that unites the languages (many mutually unintelligible) spoken in China. Because calligraphy is considered supreme among the visual arts in China, it sets the standard by which Chinese painting is judged. Indeed, the two arts are closely related.
Tools for Chinese Calligraphy
Paper – Paper is one of the four major Chinese inventions. Paper produced in Xuan county of Anhui province is the most famous, known as “xuan paper.” Xuan paper can express the elegance of ink. Papers for the use of calligraphy differ in their strength of ink absorption. Thus, the selection of paper is made according to the ideas the calligrapher has to present.
Brush – Chinese brushes are made of animal hair being soft and flexible. One special feature is the point at the tip of the brush. By controlling the pressing or raising of the brush, the calligrapher delivers a feeling of brush thickness or fineness, of feather-weight or of heavy-strength.
Ink – Traditional ingredients for the making of ink originate from burned palm twigs or the smoke from tar. For the sake of convenience, modern people gradually turned to ink chemically produced for their writing. But the process of ink grinding requires time and patience, thus, this process is able to make people stay calm and enter a state of mind suitable for calligraphy. Such practice of cultivation is a stage that must be gone through for studying and practicing calligraphy.
Ink Slab – An Ink slab is an essential for ink grinding and writing. Ink slabs appear in many varieties but ordinary slabs are made from stone-hitting. Ink slabs made from stones of the highest quality can produce ink of the best kind. Furthermore, the longer they are preserved, the higher is their value.
Miriam is writing her first Calligraphy, and Fran on the right are telling people how beautiful her handwriting is. Calligraphy is all about patient and practice. The more you write the more you will settle your thoughts and easier to find inner peace.
‘永’means forever and long lasting, but also has simple structure for beginners, so it is a perfect choice to practice in first lesson.
Confucius regarded calligraphy as one of the six arts that any real gentlemen should possess. Every character in Chinese requires balance. In fact, a single unbalanced stroke can make an entire character look unstable, as if it would fall easily if you were to push it gently with your hand. Each character should stand upright so that it has poise.
It is a sense of peace and of being alive that infuses me and travels through my brush. If you practice every day, you start to notice something else about your characters. They start to gain strength. Not just balance, but real strength. Now that you are better at taming your brush, you can channel your energy so that the soft tip of hair becomes like a sword and can carve sharp lines into the paper.
It is said that a great master can literally carve characters with his brush into a wood table. I think this is an exaggeration, but it also contains some truth.
Calligraphy is, in fact, a type of kung fu. It uses the same principles. Energy is channeled in the same way so that with practice and concentration, you can achieve balance, flexibility, focus, awareness, a sense of harmony and strength through simple actions.
Want to experience Calligraphy Writing?
Join us at Omeida Chinese Academy