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Chinese Calligraphy
Chinese Writing Brush
Chinese Calligraphy
China Information - China Folk Culture and Art
Chinese Calligraphy & Writing Brush

Chinese Calligraphy

The history of Chinese calligraphy is as long as that of China itself. Calligraphy is one of the highest forms of Chinese art. Shu (calligraphy), Hua
(painting), Qin (a string musical instrument), and Qi (a strategic boardgame) are the four basic skills and disciplines of the Chinese literati.
Chinese scripts are classified into five categories: the seal character (zhuan), the official or clerical script (li), the regular script (kai), the running
hand (xing) and the cursive hand (cao).

Regarded as the most abstract and sublime form of art in Chinese culture, "Shu Fa" (calligraphy) is often thought to be most revealing of one's
personality. During the imperial era, calligraphy was used as an important criterion for selection of executives to the Imperial court. Unlike other
visual art techniques, all calligraphy strokes are permanent and incorrigible, demanding careful planning and confident execution. Such are the
skills required for an administrator / executive. While one has to conform to the defined structure of words, the expression can be extremely
creative. To exercise humanistic imagination and touch under the faceless laws and regulations is also a virtue well-appreciated.
By controlling the concentration of ink, the thickness and adsorptivity of the paper, and the flexibility of the brush, the artist is free to produce an
infinite variety of styles and forms. In contrast to western calligraphy, diffusing ink blots and dry brush strokes are viewed as a natural impromptu
expression rather than a fault. While western calligraphy often pursues font-like uniformity, homogeneity of characters in one size is only a craft. 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. It is a most relaxing yet highly disciplined exercise indeed for one's physical and spiritual well being. Historically, many calligraphy artists
were well-known for their longevity.

Brush calligraphy is not only loved and practiced by Chinese. Koreans and Japanese equally adore calligraphy as an important treasure of their
heritage. In the West, Picasso and Matisse are two artists who openly declared the influence by Chinese calligraphy on their works.

Chinese Writing Brush

A writing tool, the brush was already used by the Chinese people in ancient China. Archaeologists discovered that the colorful patterns on
unearthed pottery articles produced some 5,000 to 6,000 years ago were painted with the brush. Writing traces with the brush were also found in
the inscriptions on bones or tortoise shells of the Shang Dynasty (1600-1046 B.C.). Writing brushes were brought to light from bombs of the
Warring States Period (475-211 B.C.).
The principal materials used to make the brush are animals fur and bamboo tube. The manufacturing is a meticulous work consisting of more
than 70 processes. The wool of the goat can be divided into 19 grades, of which only five can be used to manufacture the brush. Workers first
select fine threads of the goat’s wool, the rabbit’s hair, or the weasel’s hair from thousands upon thousands of threads and then arrange the
selected wool or hair in proper combination before a quality brush is made.

The writing brush plays an important rule in traditional Chinese calligraphy and painting. For ages, it has been used to record and disseminate
China’s time-honored culture and history. It is referred to as the first of the four articles of the writing table.



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