The history of Chinese calligraphy is as long as that of China itself. Calligraphy is one of the highest forms of Chinese art. In studying Chinese calligraphy one must learn something of the origins of Chinese language and of how they were originally written. However, except for those brought up in the artistic traditions of the country, its aesthetic significance seems to be very difficult to grasp.
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Chinese calligraphy serves the purpose of conveying thought but also shows the 'abstract' beauty of the line. Rhythm, line, and structure are more perfectly embodied in calligraphy than in painting or sculpture.
Over the thousands of years, the style of Chinese calligraphy has evolved continually. About 213 B.C., under the famous Chin Shih Huang Ti, who perpetrated the 'burning of the books', the Prime Minister Li Szu drew up an official index of characters and unified the written form for the use of scholars. This is chuan-shu and contained more than 3,000 characters. From that time to the present, there are five major styles of calligraphy:
Artistic Characters and rules:
Every Chinese character is built up in its own square with variety of structure and composition.
There are drawing of only three basic forms: the circle, the triangle, and the square.
For each character there is a definite number of strokes and appointed positions for them in relation to the whole. No stroke may be added or deleted for decorative effect.
Strict regularity is not required.
The pattern should have a living movement
Learn how to handle the brush and to grid the ink
Practice strokes and lines by write over in black ink the trace lines of characters.
Copy from the good calligraphy models, using graph paper.
Learn to raise the wrist and elbow in making a stroke. This is the method for writing medium sized or larger characters.
Practice, practice and practice.
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