Friday, January 14, 2011

Mao Zedong’s Calligraphy 毛泽东的书法

Mao Zedong is obviously one of the greatest leaders in the Chinese history and today, more that 30 years after his death in 1976, he is still very much loved by Chinese people as a great founder of New China, a great calligrapher and poet, and a protective talisman by many Chinese too. The individual charm of Mao is unmatched among Chinese leaders.
Mao was also a skilled calligrapher with a highly personal style. In China, Mao was considered to be one of the top 10 calligraphers of the 20 century. Today, his calligraphic works can be seen throughout mainland China. His work gave rise to a new form of Chinese calligraphy called ‘Mao-style’ or ’Maoti’, which has gained increasing popularity since his death.
Mao learned to write with brush when he went to a private school at the age of eight. He first studied with stele inscriptions and later practiced hard on copybooks, providing a sound basis for the forming of his own style. Mao always spared time to read stele rubbings or to see stele inscriptions himself, even in wartime.
He observed that the elements of Chinese calligraphy were full of contrasts and balances. Some characters' construction is big, some small; some are dense, some not; strokes are different in length, boldness and curves; the overall settings are balanced with lines and space, black and white. However, calligraphers should concern themselves with the strength of characters' strokes - called ‘bones’ in calligraphy – as well as their spirit. He said, ‘People have faces, bones and spirit, and so do characters.’ Therefore, when practicing calligraphy, ‘Simply copy at first, and then imitate the construction and learn the spirit. If you practice long enough, the bones and spirits will naturally come out.’
His highest achievement was his cursive hand, which was imposing and magnificent, with up and down rhythms – a unique style formed in his middle age. His handwriting was full of energy, but true to regulations, expressing a strong visual beauty. Reading his cursive style handwriting, people immerse themselves in the flow of strokes, slow or fast, dense or not dense. Readers are attracted by the aura his works create, as well as by his presence as the top leader.


  1. 今天在报章看到有书法在,华文在之说,令人觉得为新加坡书法界汗颜。华文为母,书法为子,孩子如此自夸,实在不是华人的行为。可能这就是自称毛泽东式的狂妄吧。

  2. 我看大可不必感到汗颜,新加坡书协作为一间著名的民间书法团体,把书法放在第一位,可以谅解。华文在,书法可能不存在;但是书法在,证明华文必然存在,其理自明。况且,以书法来显现华文的存在,不是当今存在主义的流行语吗?再者,书法演变至今几千年,与华文的关系已经达到你中有我,我中有你的境界,老祖宗的体用本末之说,可以少谈也。