The characters all over the world fall into three parts, namely the pictography one (picture writing), the ideography one (from the writing one can tell the meaning) and the phonography one (alphabetic writing—like the English words and French words). The Chinese characters belong to the first sort and later developed into the second one, while the western characters the third one.
Legend says that during the reign of the Yellow Emperor about 5000 years ago, a man with four eyes named Cang Jie invented the Chinese characters, then calligraphy came after the invention of the characters. The calligraphy is an abstract and sublime form of art. It is often regarded as one of the most revealing forms of one's personality. Historically, many calligraphers were well known for their longevity. During the imperial time, calligraphy has been an important criterion for selection of executives to the Imperial court.
Evolution of the Chinese Calligraphy
The Chinese calligraphy we are talking about means the calligraphy written with the writing brush. Actually, the Chinese calligraphies were first discovered on the oracle bone, bronze casting and later on the stoneware and jadeware. The Chinese characters were not standardized until the Qin Dynasty (259-210 B.C.) when the lesser seal characters were stipulated as the regular characters. Along with the development of Chinese history, Chinese calligraphy turned into five standardized forms.
1. Zhuan Shu 篆书 (Seal Character) -- Small Seal Characters is compiled in the Qin Empire (259-210 B.C.), which is very elegant in style and are widely favored by people today in the creation of calligraphy works.
2. Li Shu 隶书 (Official script) -- It originated from the Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220). The rise of official script is another reform in Chinese characters, which features a flat, neat and refined structure.
3. Kai Shu 楷书 (Regular script) -- It is a special script that evolved from seal characters, and simple in structure and square in shape ,
4. Xing Shu 行书 (Running script) -- It is the cursive form of formal script created in the Han Dynasty (202 BC-220 AD). In general, it is convenient and highly practical for writing.
5. Cao Shu 草书 (Grass script) -- Cursive hand was characterized by simplified and sketchy forms of characters formed around the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC-8 AD) and became prevalent in the Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220).
How to Do It
The basic skill that will cost you three months to master before learning to write the calligraphy is how to grasp the brush pen in the right way.
Before creating the calligraphy, you should take the concentration of ink, the thickness and adsorptivity of the paper, and the flexibility of the brush into consideration. What’s more, the design of the characters is also of great significance to make the calligraphy creative and the ideas more appreciated.
How to Appreciate Chinese Calligraphy
In contrast to western calligraphy, diffusing ink blots and dry brush strokes seen frequently in Chinese calligraphy are regarded as a natural impromptu expression rather than a fault. The western calligraphers often pursue font-like uniformity, homogeneity of characters in one size, however, to the artist, calligraphy is a mental exercise that coordinates the mind and the body to choose the best styling in expressing the content of the passage.
Few people know that the Chinese calligraphy has some relatives to the western art. In the West, Picasso and Matisse openly declared the influence of Chinese calligraphy on their works. "Had I been born Chinese, I would have been a calligrapher, not a painter,” Picasso once said.
Koreans and Japanese equally adore brush calligraphy as an important treasure of their heritage. Not too long ago, Korean government officials were required to excel in calligraphy. The Japan office of Okinawa governor displays a large screen of Chinese calligraphy as a dominating decor.
Calligraphy and Life
Normally, the Chinese calligraphy is often seen on the paper fans, screens and chinaware as the decorations, as well as on the rock walls as sight spots.