Thursday, April 16, 2009

Holding the Chinese Calligraphy Brush 毛笔执笔法

To practice Chinese calligraphy, you must learn the proper way to hold the brush as this will produce the desired effects in calligraphy. As a beginner, always try to hold the brush firmly and keep it straight and vertical to the desk. Unlike Western calligraphy or pen writing, do not hold the brush in a slanted angle.
The brush needs to be held with all five fingers because each finger plays a different vital role in writing each character's strokes. If a certain finger is not used, the effect in each stroke will look different. Remember to keep the wrist and palm in a smooth angle to avoid muscle strain.
The functions of the five fingers are called ye, ya, gou, ge and di.
Ye (to press down the thumb): The thumb should press the brush on a slant from left to right.
Ya (to use the index finger hold the brush handle): Press the finger slantwise and bend it slightly from right to left. The index finger and the thumb cooperate so that while one presses the other holds the brush handle. Gou (to use the middle finger hook the brush): Move this finger forcefully from left to right to hook the brush. The middle finger must cooperate with the third finger to write the characters.
Ge (to use the third finger press the brush): The third finger is placed on the left side of the brush handle pressing the handle outwards. It cooperates with the middle finger so the two fingers exert an even and balanced force. Di (to use the little finger to support the third finger): It is placed under the third finger to support it to push the brush outwards.
The palm must be hollow such that one should be able to hold an egg within that space.
This method of holding brush allows greater freedom of movement, control and execution of strokes.

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