The Chinese calligraphy is a rare and exotic flower in the history of civilization and a jewel unequaled in Eastern culture. In its graphic aspect, it can be compared to painting for its ability to arouse emotions through the rich variety of its forms and features. As abstract art, musical rhythm and harmony are manifested in all their purity. All this added to a practical part: it is a form of writing. The writing constitutes the palpable representation of the spoken language. Within the Chinese characters we can establish six categories:
- Hsiang hsing, direct graphical representation
- Chih shih, symbolic expression of abstract ideas
- Hui yi, combination of concrete graphic elements and symbolic expression of abstractions
- Hsing sheng, a combination of phonetic and pictorial elements
- Chia chieh, character used solely because of its phonetic value to represent a homophone or near homophone with which it is not related
- Chuan chu, a character that has acquired a new meaning, which has made it necessary to assign a new spelling to the primitive meaning or modify the one it already had.
These methods of forming Chinese characters are called Liu Chu or the Six Writing Methods.
In the style of stamps, the lines, both horizontal and vertical, are thin, uniform, energetic and tend to end in a point. The moment of maximum development of this style coincided with the Ch’in dynasty (221-207 BC), a time in which there were two main varieties: Ta Chuan (major style) and Hsiao Chuan (minor style). Numerous samples of the major style remain in inscriptions made on stone in the shape of a drum (shih kuwen) and bronze vessels such as the Ch’in Kung Kuei. The minor style is characterized by its sinuous, stylized, careful and energetic forms, in contrast to the less refined major style. Li Szu, staked minister of the Ch’in dynasty,
The normal writing, K’ai Shu, developed during the Han Dynasty (206 BC to 220 AD), modeled on administrative writing. Its current name is “standard script” (cheng k’ai) Being more comfortable than administrative writing, it became the usual script for everyday needs. Its culminating moment came in the time of the T’ang dynasty (618 to 907). There were prominent calligraphers, such as Yen Chen-ch’ing (705-785), who created their own schools of standardized writing with strong and sharp strokes and who left a lasting mark on the history of Chinese calligraphy.
Fast writing occupies an intermediate position between normalized writing and cursive. It is not as angular as administrative writing nor as rounded as stamp writing. Perhaps the best way to describe it would be as a variant of regularized writing. It takes its name from the speed of its execution. Its development is usually attributed to Liu Teh-sheng of the Eastern Han dynasty.
There are multiple varieties of cursive or “grass” writing, some of which are combinations with other styles, such as stamp cursive and administrative writing. There is also an “informal italic” (k’uang ts’ao). Common features of the various varieties are: simplified structure, united lines, hastily and fluently drawn lines, and poor readability. There is a Chinese proverb that best expresses the beauty of this typeface: The writing stops but the meaning continues. The brush is abandoned, but its power is inexhaustible. “Of the five styles of Chinese writing, italics are the closest to abstract art. Among the calligraphers who have excelled in the field of cursive throughout history, who managed to sort out the apparent chaos of this form of writing, and who founded their own schools, are Wang Hsien-chih of the Eastern Chin dynasty and Huai Su (725-785) of the T’ang dynasty. Among contemporaries, Yu Yu-jen (1879-1964).
Chinese calligraphy is not just a practical instrument of daily life but is integrated, together with painting, in one of the most significant trends in the history of Chinese art.
Literature and Printing
The vast and varied Chinese literature has developed from very ancient to the Modern Age in a line of continuity that joins the primitive verses, probably written around the 11th century BC. C., the oldest writing is made on wooden or bamboo tablets with an awl made with the latter material sharpened at one end, which was dipped in a colored liquid. Later they began to use hair and to write on silk or paper, the latter known to the Chinese in the second century AD. C., since then the artists of the country use the same materials.
The first printing attempts may have been inspired by rubbings taken from inscriptions on stone dating from the 9th century AD. Thus arose the idea of printing on paper with wooden blocks, and at the end of the 10th century this method was widely used in the production of books. Movable fired clay types are believed to have been invented by Pi Sheng around 1043, but it is possible that they were not made from wooden blocks until the 14th century. Due to the nature of the Chinese language, represented in thousands of pictograms, movable type did not become popular as it did in Europe. China is a country located in Asia according to THERELIGIONFAQS.
The origins of traditional Chinese painting date back to the earliest times in the history of this country. In general, we can say that works before the T’ang dynasty (618-907) are line drawings produced by people who are engaged in other activities. This was the golden age of human figure drawings. During the first half of the T’ang dynasty, landscapes and paintings depicting flowers and birds began to gain importance. Paintings with mountains, forests, fields and gardens allow us to escape the troubles of this world and enter the realm of peace and tranquility. This has been the reason that the landscape has always been a pictorial form much appreciated by the Chinese literati and bureaucrats. Trees, stones, meadows, are also highly admired. flowers, birds and other animals that appear in paintings of flowers and birds, endowed with great vibrancy and energy. Thus, the three main categories of traditional Chinese painting would be the landscape, flowers and birds, and representations of human figures from the early period.
The ruling classes and elites of the T’ang and Sung dynasties (920-1279) were great patrons of painting. The objective that was pursued with the works of this period was not purely artistic but had a political and educational aspect. The style tended to be elaborate and showy. The Sung dynasty court founded a painting academy with a systematic curriculum. Hui Tsung, emperor of the Sung dynasty noted for his love of the arts in general and painting in particular, provided funds for the training of promising artists. This was the time of maximum splendor of the academy.
The degree of realism of Chinese painting has been the source of frequent debate. Some may think that it is not realistic at all, but that is only partially true. Realism in Chinese painting culminated during the T’ang and Sung dynasties. However, it is not a realism that tries to objectively reflect the object as such and how it is captured by the senses, but rather tries to subjectively express what is hidden behind the appearance of things.
The main element of Chinese painting is the line, a feature that it shares with calligraphy, which has been the reason why both arts have been closely linked since their origin. During the successful era of literary painters in the Yuan dynasty, literary men who were involved in painting were intentionally trying to further reaffirm the ties between calligraphy and painting, thus pursuing a trend that combined both disciplines. Likewise, the intense relationship between poetry and painting arose from the influence of literature on painting.