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Chinese Calligraphy Poster Project

Chinese Calligraphy Poster Project

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Published by Siena Schickel

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Published by: Siena Schickel on Jun 22, 2012
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11/04/2013

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In a Chinese dictionary, there are fifty to sixty thousand characters thatmake up the Chinese language. Calligraphy is a way of writing Chinese,literally meaning, "words written by hand." Over the history of the art,the forms of the characters have changed.In the 28th century, B.C.E, Chinese emperor Fu Hsi invented a writingsystem to record simple statements. These were called the eighttrigrams, recognized by their three rows of lines for each character. Asplit line meant "ying," and a complete line meant, "yang." These werethe eight trigrams:
 
___ _ _ _ _ ___ _ _ ___ ___ _ ____ _ _ ___ _ _ ___ _ _ ___ _ ____ _ _ _ _ ___ ___ _ _ _ _ ___
Heaven Earth Water Fire River Mountain Wind Thunder
Around the time of 2697-2596 B.C.E, pictograms began to work its wayinto the Chinese writing system. Simple representations of animals anditems were drawn to convey a message.The first column depicts the pictograms used, and how the letterschanged over time.
 
Chinese calligraphy, unlike most languages, is considered an art rather than away of writing. Someone who writes with a brush conveys a message, thatcan be optimistic, pessimistic, or any other kind of mood. A few words arepainted to express an emotion or feeling, and the writing itself requires speedand deftness, which causes the words to flow out of the artist withspontaneity.
The "Four Treasures of Study":
- The Writing Brush- One of the most important parts of calligraphy is thewriting brush. The nib of the brush can be made of most kinds of animalhair/fur, or wool. The shaft of the brush is made out of various things,including but not limited to bamboo, ivory, jade, crystal, gold silver,porcelain, etc. The brush depends on the artist's style of painting. Sometimes,artwork is engraved in the shaft of the brush to inspire the artist.- The Ink Stick- Another very important part of calligraphy is the ink stick.The ink stick is solid ink that is ground up and mixed with water andsometimes glue to create the liquid ink. Ink sticks can vary in design,sometimes having detailed engravings in the block of ink. The amount of water and other materials mixed in with the ink depends on the artist.- Paper- Paper was one of China's greatest inventions that is still very widelyused today. Before paper, many other things were used to write on, mostlytypes of stone and bamboo. Wealthy people wrote on silk, but until paper wasmade, that meant writing was not widely available to the public.- Ink Slab- The ink slab is an ornate flat stone that is used when grinding andmixing the ink stick. In Chinese history, it was commonly given as a gift toroyalty. Here's an example:
 
Calligraphy is such a major part of Chinese history, that any part in TheJoy Luck Club relating to letters, such as when June Woo receives theletter from her half sisters in China, is connected to calligraphy. Junesays that, "...they were seated next to each other at a table, taking turnswith a fountain pen. One would write a neat row of characters..." Sincecalligraphy literally means "words written by hand," June's twin sisterswere really drawing calligraphy.All of the girls in the book never wanted to be Chinese, even saying thattheir Caucasian friends claim that they are as white as them. It is onlydisappointing that they do not embrace their culture, with all of the artfulhistory and beautiful language they inherited. Chinese calligraphy is aunique and ancient art.

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