Friday, February 11, 2011
Practical Functionality: The Attractiveness of Chinese Calligraphy 实用性：中华书法的魅力所在
The artistic value of Chinese calligraphy is derived from calligraphers’ ability to apply skilfully the brush and ink on paper. (Click here to read more.) The practical functionality of Chinese calligraphy is evidenced by the following facts:
1. Since ancient times, it has always been a tool for written communication, fulfilling the practical function of information exchange through writing Chinese characters with brushes, ink, and paper. However, as brush writing has gradually become obsolete, Chinese calligraphy has lost this most practical and basic functionality.
2. It is a revered symbol of tradition, excellence and self cultivation. Self-cultivation means specifically those activities pursued with an eye to the eventual goals of having a healthy body, becoming a nobleman and ultimately the goal of sage hood.
3. It is closely linked to the Chinese personal and commercial lives. Calligraphic works are used to decorate sitting rooms, studies and bedrooms. Signboards with inscriptions by famous figures are often found in shops and shopping centers, adding an antique elegance to busy and noisy trading areas. Characters in special styles appear as masthead inscriptions for newspapers or magazines, or as the titles of books.
4. It condenses the Chinese culture. Usually, the calligraphic work contains a poem, a pair of couplets or a motto that will surely inspire its viewers.
5. The traditional Huichun activities during the Chinese New Year will spice things up and create an enjoyable atmosphere. Huichun refers to writing of festival couplets and short messages that express good wishes for the year. The end products are calligraphic works produced specially for the celebration of the Spring Festival, the most important traditional festival of the Chinese people. Written on red paper, such couplets and messages are posted on gateposts, door panels, rice and food containers, walls or columns of houses.
6. Chinese Calligraphic works are displayed in temples, gardens, mountains, pavilions, towers and buildings in various scenic spots. Such calligraphic inscriptions on wooden boards or rocks integrate harmoniously with the surrounding scenery, and add radiance and beauty to it.
7. It has very close relation with other traditional Chinese arts, especially the Chinese painting.
8. Calligraphy can be used as a tool for the teaching of Chinese language and culture. As Chinese calligraphy is about writing Chinese characters, it is natural that it is most suitable tool for helping out students in learning Chinese language and culture. (Click here to learn more on this topic.)
Chinese calligraphy has certainly not lost its practical functionality and much can be done by calligrapher lovers to promote this unique art form by getting more people to participate in it to realize its practical functionalities.