The Chinese Calligraphy




Course Description

Calligraphy is a special form of art in China, widely practised in Chinese cultural circles. Calligraphy has a very long history, as long as the whole course of Chinese characters. Chinese calligraphy appears complex, and difficult to understand and to appreciate, for many westerners, since they do not know a great deal about the Chinese language and Chinese characters. When we look at a piece of ancient Chinese calligraphy, we cannot perceive its significance without prior knowledge of Chinese culture, because calligraphy is not the same as a picture. However, through a short course, we can learn some of the rules and characteristics of Chinese calligraphy. We can gain knowledge of the basic rules in calligraphy, such as the symmetrical principle, and the method of comparison. In the course we shall try to understand the effective meanings created by the Chinese pen brush. Chinese calligraphy was created through the use of soft pen brushes; being soft, they produced a magnificent variety of beautiful forms. Regularizing, standardizing and normalizing are some of the basic requirements in calligraphy, but they do not make up the whole core of calligraphy. The artists themselves were the crucial factor. From ancient times onwards, high-ranking officials and scholars played leading roles in the development of calligraphy, and we could well call them ‘celebrities of writing’. Did these members of the elite classes have true calligraphical skills, or did they establish their reputations because of their enormous influence on their contemporaries, and following generations? In the course, we shall discuss these and other questions related to Chinese calligraphy. However, please note that modern calligraphy will not be included in this course. Please note also that it would be best if, as a participant, one has some knowledge of the Chinese language, and of reading and writing Chinese characters. It should also be noted that this course is not suitable for participants whose mother tongue is Chinese, since the teaching-plan has been designed for those who are not fluent in the Chinese language.


Wood JIANG is an Associate Professor at Capital Normal University, Beijing. He holds a Master of Art and a PhD in Chinese Calligraphy, and has taught calligraphy at EF Education Groups and at Capital Normal University. He has published more than ten academic papers related to Chinese Calligraphy, as well as two manuals for practicing calligraphic skills. His research focuses on the history and theory of Chinese Calligraphy, especially from the Song dynasty to the Qing dynasty.