Thursday, June 18, 2009

Oracle-bone Inscription Calligraphy 甲骨文书法

The Chinese calligraphy is an art blending the use of lines, form and structure to express different temperament, character and sensibility. Oracle-bone inscriptions are just formed with lines. As the earliest carved characters, they are not born art of calligraphy. However, they have all the basic elements to become part of the art of calligraphy: strokes, structure and composition.
Along with the development of engraved art, they gradually attracted the attention of writers and observers, and provided a new way of expressing artists’ sentiment and artistic conception. That was how calligraphy finally developed into a form of art. The oracle-bone inscriptions of the Shang dynasty had become the first group of unique engraved calligraphy works, the artistic feature of which is still influencing the style of calligraphers today.
There are different calligraphic styles of oracle-bone inscriptions: free and unrestricted, upright and powerful, elegant and integrated, bold and unconstrained, plain and simple. The styles vary because the materials used in the creation of inscriptions vary.
Oracle-bone inscriptions are seen on hard materials, such as bones or tortoise shell, and are the earliest type of Chinese seal character.
Compared with other scripts, the oracle-bone inscriptions involve more horizontal and vertical lines, and some curved line as well. They have straight and settled strokes, plain and fixed structure. Frequent use of square turning makes it plain and simple. The type face also emphasises symmetry. Although without the mature, elegant and beautiful characters of later calligraphy, its invitation of exploration and beauty of simplicity had influenced calligraphy for thousands of years and was irreplaceable by any other calligraphy in its mature period.

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