Calligraphy: The Complex Art from a Dying Age


Raquel Wong, Staff Writer

Calligraphy is the expression through art and writing. This is an art it’s a skill that needs cultivation throughout the years and mentorship. World Language Teacher Ms. Zhao is teaching calligraphy to the Chinese One class. The old art not only teaches patience and focus but the importance of a peaceful mind. Laoshi describes Chinese as like yoga practicing being calm and central very relaxed mindset.  Additionally, calligraphy is classified as an art form or skill to improve. “In China if you are good at calligraphy you are good at painting if you are good at painting you are good at calligraphy” comments Ms.Zhao (Teacher Laoshi).

Laoshi Zhao learned multiple writing techniques in school, she started practicing the art when she was very young and got frustrated when she couldn’t get the character right. She thinks that calligraphy opens your mind to new ideas and makes you more organized. But like all arts it’s a challenge and a skill to improve on.

I asked three members of Chinese One class their opinions. The most difficult part of writing characters is “applying the right amount of pressure to get the style you want,” answered Maddie Ando’23.

Nina Cutner stated that “in Chinese each word has its own symbol while English has twenty-six letters, memorizing all of the symbols is a hard way to practice.”

If it’s hard to get a character correct it’s even harder to correct a mistake. “It’s a very technical way to write and it’s hard to spot errors but for fluent speakers like our teacher its easier. And she helps us learn (character writing) the right way,” said Rose Kennedy’23.

This complicated art started out as pictorial or pictures like made with lines, tablets, monuments on cliffs, and as some of the first scriptures in paper. Today people are trying not to lose their culture by learning the various forms of Chinese calligraphy. There are four styles of calligraphy, Ms. Zhao is teaching the neat and easy form of Kaishu, but there are the other forms like Li, Tsao, Hsin, and Zhuanshu the hardest form. All forms of character writing are uniquely different. For example, Kaishu writing strokes are clear and are squarer shaped, Li has strange wavelike lines,and Hsin has connecting lines. An important note when going into Chinese calligraphy is “Nobody can master all forms of calligraphy perfectly,” said Ms.Zhao.

“If calligraphy is such an old art, why should we practice it in modern day schools?” Because “it’s really important to Chinese culture and it and immersing yourself in part of the culture is a big part of learning the language,” said Cutner. It is astonishing how such an old art can be appreciated and admired even after thousands of years.