Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Writing Posture 书写的姿势

We noted that before start practising calligraphy, one must learn the proper way of holding the brush. The technique of holding the brush was very much emphasised before the Song dynasty. It is used with a brush manipulation technique known as Brush Turning. The use of fingers is emphasised.
After Song dynasty, with the introduction of tables and chairs that were similar to what we use today, the emphasis was moved to the method of using the wrist and the techniques of brush lifting and pressing. Therefore, the use of both fingers and wrist are emphasised. Fingers are used to hold and turn the brush and wrist is for moving the brush.
So, when writing, two things must be done correctly: the correct body posture and method of using the wrist and arm.
Body Posture: The correct body posture is important as the wrong posture will lead to strained eyes, sore muscles, or even hunch-back. You can practice calligraphy in either sitting or standing position. Standing position is normally for writing characters that are larger than 2 inches.
When sitting, the body should be erect, the shoulders balanced and the back straight. The legs should be apart, the feet evenly and firmly on the ground. The paper is held down by the left hand. The right hand holds the brush. The head is slightly forward, but be careful not to bow too low. Fix your eyes on the spot where you intend to write. Your eyes and the tip of your writing brush should be thirty centimetres apart. Your whole body should feel natural.
In the standing position, you start with your back erect and your shoulders set naturally. When standing, your feet should be as wide as your shoulders. Your chin should be slightly out causing you to lean forward a little.
Method of Using the Wrist: As the wrist is used to manipulate the tip of the brush, it is therefore important to learn the correct way to increase its agility. The three positions of the wrist are: cushioned, lifted and suspended wrist.
The cushioned wrist method required that the hand be held perpendicular to the paper, with the wrist cocked back like a striking serpent, while the forearm rests on the desk. While writing, the wrist is used to move the brush. This method is very often used for writing ordinary small characters.
The lifted wrist method is easily accomplished by placing the writing hand on top of the table, effectively raising the writing hand to an acceptable level. While writing, the arm is used to guide the wrist. It is normally used to write medium-sized characters.
In the suspended wrist method, the forearm is always held parallel to the desk. While writing, the arm is used to move the brush. This method allows for the freest movement of the brush. It is used to write medium and bigger characters.
All new learners of calligraphy should start with the suspended-wrist method as the basic skill. After mastering this method, they will have no problem to use the other two methods.

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