Thursday, October 15, 2009

The First Forty Words 开始写的四十个字

After knowing the brush techniques, it is time to start writing. Chinese believe that constant practice according to masterful models was the only means to leading to mastery and perfection. So the three key words are, practice, practice, and practice.
We have noted that new learner should start with writing kaishu (the standard style). It is better to write few words and correctly apply all writing techniques than to write many words without paying attention to the proven techniques.
The famous Eight Principles of Yong says that one should start with practising the eight strokes common in Chinese characters. It is also believed that the frequent practice of these principles as a beginning calligrapher could ensure beauty in one's writing.
While it is possible to start with writing the character ‘yong’ (meaning forever, lasting) which is said to have contained all the eight basic strokes, one may find such an approach rather monotonous and boring. The recommended approach is to practice four words at each practice session starting with words with simple strokes and moving to words with other strokes progressively. As we write these words, we should apply the brush techniques faithfully and learn the principles of the structure of these characters.
Here are the first forty words recommended:
01.横划:一、二、三、土 (Horizontal stroke)
02.竖划:十、士、上、正 (Vertical stroke)
03.撇划:千、川、在、生 (Slanting toward lower left)
04。横折:中、日、且、者 (Horizontal and vertically turn downward)
05。捺划:人、大、合、尺 (Slanting toward lower right)
06。钩划:水、子、而、可 (Hook to the northwest direction)
07。单点:文、不、方、太 (Single dot)
08。多点:心、六、必、为 (Multiple dots)
09。竖横钩:也、先、光、元 (Vertical and horizontally turn rightward and hook upward)
10.提划:以、孰、即、指 (Lifting off northeast direction)



  1. Interesting approach.
    Notice that the words selected are the 'Liu Style'. Does that mean Liu style is most suitable for the beginner?

  2. I think it is difficult to say which is the best style to start with - depends on your objective of learning. Zhao style may not be suitable for beginners. Yan style is quite good for those with some basic knowledge in brush techqniques. If we agree that for beginners, it is important to build stron foundation on knowing the structure of words first, then probably it is best to start practisng the Liu style. Since Liu was borned after Ou and Yan, he had the advantage of learning the brush techniques from Ou and word structure from Yan. The problem with Liu style is that, it is not easy for beginners to must his bony strokes.