The art of writing                 Ivan hernandez

Centuries ago, writing was a skill that few talented people possessed. Today, calligraphy is a slowly fading art that people wish to learn. This gallery is to display one of the most sophisticated and difficult to learn, Asian Calligraphy, varying of styles and ways that it can be shown and used. The basics of calligraphy such as ink on paper to the different mediums that artist and masters create on. 

Asian calligraphy is known for it's neat lines, detail, and mastered control of movement with your hand with the brush. Written in 1767 by the Qianlong Emperor, this piece shows the basics of Chinese Calligraphy. The piece is balanced, having the six characters distributed into two sections on the paper. Although it is simply writing on paper, it took time to properly learn the language and brushstrokes to make each character.
Painted between 1615-1698 by Zha Shibiao or by his other name Erzhan, it was common for skilled writers to be able to also paint works along side their writing. The left portion of the piece is Shibiao's writing, with his seals at the bottom left of the writing, on the right of the work is an original painting done by Shibiao depicting a man walking a small path toward another set of hills. In the painting, all colors cohere together in their diluted palette, yet there emphasis in the center of the painting toward the man, with his bolder colored robe amongst the background. Looking closely at the brushstrokes in the tree and rocks, you can see similarities in the strokes along with the calligraphy to the left of it.
Most times a calligrapher will work with an artist of another nature. Xing Tong, the calligrapher of this piece, wrote on material that Wang Wizhi would create. In this piece, at first appearance, the work just looks plain and weathered from the cracked and stained surface, yet if you zoom in closely to the lighter background, you can see the details of flowers and vines sewn into the silk sheet. Occasionally on important occasions, a better medium is required to write on to be more presentable and stand up to the purpose.
On occasions, a piece is created in partnership with many people. Three calligraphers took part in writing on this scroll, and one artist painted the illustration at the bottom. The scene depicts a building built in a dense forest, and in the frontmost building is three men gathered, having a discussion. More than likely they are the three men who wrote the scroll and asked another to commemorate the occasion. The scroll is primarily in shades of black, yet accented with red to mark names and give color to the skin of the men and wood in the structures.
Often times paintings would work along side calligraphy, similar to a caption to a picture. In this piece, it shows a blooming tree with Korean characters on both sides. There are small circles on the ends of the branches, inferred to be fruit blossoming from the tree. Although very aged and worn, the detail of the brush strokes hold up and shows the talent a person who studies calligraphy has.
As mentioned before, people who knew the art of calligraphy were thought of as masters. This piece illustrates the talent an 19th century master named Kūkai possessed, being able to write with both hands and feet, along with writing with his mouth at the same time. Although unknown if this representation is true, all the spectators of this demonstration are stunned. In the top right corner are some small notes for this was a sketch to later be transfered onto a wooden medium.
A stack of small manuscripts made by a Buddhist master, left to give instructions to those who follows his teachings. Many different mediums are used from silk, to paper, and wood as gold lettering and paintings are placed on each of the pieces. The black background accents the gold lettering and gives it an ornate feel that a leader would make.
Although calligraphy is commonly done with ink on paper and fabrics, it is also seen in other mediums. This piece is done with black lacquer on a wood. Later the artist would carve out flowers or petals seen running along borders of the center of the piece and inlay them with a material called mother-of-pearl. The drastic contrast with the black lacquer backing gave the Chinese characters more resolution along with the inlay that is now worn and faded. The detail and precision taken to get the Chinese characters perfect, as though it were to be painted on there by brush.
This piece is a slice of wood from a tree, having the artist carve the letters out of the material and inlayed with ivory. The whole piece was then sealed with a stain to give the sheen seen on it. Brand new the ivory would be intact and whole, yet over 200 years of being made has allowed the wood to expand and shrink, causing the cracks and imperfections in the piece.
Not all calligraphy is ornate or decorative. This more recent piece is bolder and more interpretive. The bolder, contrasting colors in the background help exaggerate and accent the characters of the piece. The artist stamped/quickly brushed on the shapes in the background, explaining the textured pattern to it, yet the black ink bled out onto the paper. In today's culture, a small group of people are mixing the old style of calligraphy with graffiti done in the streets to create an ornate yet grittier version of calligraphy that is similar to this.
Credits: All media
This user gallery has been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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