Friday, December 26, 2008

Cai Yong on Chinese Calligraphy 蔡邕谈书法

Cai Yong (132–192) was a Chinese scholar of the Eastern Han Dynasty. He was well-versed in literature, music and calligraphy. This is what he said about the nature of Chinese Calligraphy.
‘Calligraphy ventilates heart. Whenever handwriting is desired, shake off all restraint first. If one starts in a hurry, even a hare hair brush will be of no avail. Therefore prior to picking up a brush, sit down in a quiet mood, allow thought wander unchecked, keep breathing at ease and bring out a deferential expression as if in front of someone most venerable.
Calligraphy is formally defined by its implications of brushstroke, which may suggest sitting or walking, flying or wriggling, going or coming, lying or rising, sorrow or joy, leaf nibbled by worm, sharp sword or long-handled dagger-axe, strong bow or hard arrow, water or fire, cloud or mist, the sun or the moon. Only those which suggest images can be called calligraphy.’
Note: Brush made by hare hair is supposed to be the best brush.

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