A3: Highly Encrypted Art & Condensed Beauty

“The writing stops but the meaning goes on; the brush has been put down but the power is unending.” 
~ Chinese saying

In ancient China, all articles, poems, and calligraphy were written in Classical Chinese Style (“Wen Yen Wen  言文 ”). The ancient Chinese people did not use punctuations at all, i.e., no comma, no period, and no question mark. Furthermore, the writings were encrypted with the fewest number of words and need to be deciphered to the spoken Chinese language as used in our daily conversations to understand their meaning. Just for Chinese calligraphy Form Books, the articles are sometimes beyond understanding and require a deep understanding of historical, geographical, and political background. Those ancient articles require the readers to be very, very knowledgeable to understand them. For example, in Gia Gu Wen ( 骨文 ) and Jin Wen ( ) inscriptions, the contents are very deep. It’s even beyond an average historian’s and linguist’s understanding. The ancient Chinese people referred to something we don’t know. Scriptures, textbooks, secret songs of Chinese martial arts and medicine can be very confusing and can be easily misinterpreted and misapplied. Sometimes it’s like the find in the pyramids that requires archaeologists to decipher. The ancient Chinese people did this because they wanted to transmit the secrets and precious knowledge to the selected few people who have a high level of knowledge, mind, and spirit.


"Had I been born Chinese, I would have been a calligrapher, not a painter." ~ Pablo Picasso

Picasso once said that had he been born Chinese, he would have been a calligrapher, not a painter. The attractions of Chinese calligraphy that so fascinated him are clearly visible in his way of painting more abstract and condensed images than most other painters.

Brush calligraphy is not only loved and practiced by Chinese and Korean as an important treasure of their heritage. They are equally adored by some Westerners. Picasso and Matisse were two artists who openly declared the influence of Chinese calligraphy on their works. Picasso said that if he were to start art with the knowledge of Chinese calligraphy, he would have been a calligrapher rather than a painter. Traces of calligraphy strokes were also well recognized in the paintings of Henri Matisse.

In contrast to Western calligraphy, diffusing ink blots and dry brush strokes are viewed as a natural impromptu expression rather than a defect in Chinese calligraphy. While Western calligraphy often pursues font-like uniformity, homogeneity of characters in one size or inside grids is considered merely a craft in Chinese calligraphy. To the artist, Chinese calligraphy is a highly concentrated mental activity that coordinates the mind, body, and spirit to honestly and directly express oneself. It is a most soothing yet highly disciplined exercise indeed for one's longevity and spiritual well being.

Please also refer to T7: Metaphysics in the "Theories" section.

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