Philosophy About Chinese Calligraphy

P6: Methodologies of Chinese Calligraphy

Chinese people deeply emphasize their methodologies in many fields. Methodologies can get pretty complicated as history and styles develop. The methodologies related to Chinese calligraphy can be explained as two interrelated parts: the holding and operation of brush and the mental creation. The brushwork is just an extension of the mind. The mind wonít work well if the brush fails and vise versa.

Before we get to build up a more serious attitude about Chinese calligraphy, we have to realize that we have a free will to choose how deep we want to go. Itís our artistic life or activity that no one can impose on us. The deeper and detailed we probe, the better results we get.

I read that a Bagwazhang ( 卦掌 ) master saying that a system of Eight Trigram Palms can be divided into 64 diagrams and then 360 degrees. We can roughly imagine a circle divided into 8 trigrams and we will get a little bit more tired to divide the circle into 64 diagrams. Then a truly secret and authentic Bagwazhang system further divides the circle into 360 degrees as accurate as a compass. Each trigram (  ) or diagram has its own application in fighting. Furthermore, each of the 360 divisions of degrees have its own techniques! Sounds pretty complicated and lots to memorize? The master who said this had never lost a fight and he usually ended a challenge within seconds with the fewest movements!

Like the above-mentioned 360 degrees of different techniques, a good Chinese calligrapher should also be accurate down to the smallest nuances too. Even a one-degree difference of each stroke can result in totally different outcomes (destiny) and spirit of a character. If we miss the tree, we will miss the whole forest. The outcome of each character does not only come from the tiny physical appearances, it also comes from an iota of mental vibration at that moment. This is one of the reasons that Chinese calligraphy is known as the ďHeart PaintingĒ or Mind Image ( 字即心畫 ).

Just like a pianistís tone production on the piano, the nuances of each calligraphy unit down to the smallest detail determine the artistís level. Larger mental use and smaller muscular motions will bring intensity and nuances to the soul of an artwork.

As we are mentally and technically ready to learn Chinese calligraphy methods, we may review the Center Tip Theory and A4: How to Develop Mind Power in Calligraphy. After one has trained well with Center Tip Theory and mind concentration, most technical issues such as structure, shading, posture, and strokes will be self-explaining as one has opened his or her spiritual eyes artistically. 


ďIf you love anything enough, it will speak to you.Ē ~ George Washington Carver

Please do not worry if you cannot understand all of the theories and philosophy at once. The most important thing is applying the knowledge, not the knowledge itself. There were even more theories of Chinese calligraphy in the ancient times written in Classical Chinese Style in metaphysical tones beyond our modern comprehension. Itís impractical to read, understand and be enslaved by them all. We may choose whatever is adaptable and feasible to our styles and paths.


Philosophy Menu                        Home