Chinese Calligraphy Technique and Learning – The Aesthetic Concept of Regularity and Flow

 

What is the Role of Regularity and Rhythm in a Chinese Calligraphy Artwork?

One of the first things you’ll notice when viewing a calligraphic work in Li Shu or Kai Shu is that the characters are all of generally the same size. Similarly, it is common that each column of text will contain the same number of Characters. Even when it comes to Xing Shu and Cao Shu, you’ll note that although characters might be linked together, they each inhabit a similar amount of space on the page. Although there is certainly great potential for variety and expression in calligraphic characters, careful character spacing and sizing is the best ways to create a clear rhythm for a piece. This consciousness of regular spacing can be likened to the tempo of a piece of music. Indeed, the points at which characters exceed the assumed boundaries might be viewed as the sustaining of a single note, or an increase in volume. Thus, the dynamics of the work are exposed even as the over-arching scheme or tempo remains clear.

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Script Styles of Chinese Calligraphy: An Overview of Kai Shu (楷書) – the Standard Script Style

 

What is the Standard Script Style (Kai Shu / 楷書) in Chinese Calligraphy?

What is today known as the Standard Script, or Kai Shu (楷書), entered the Chinese writing tradition as a well-defined and mature script only in the Tang Dynasty (618-907 CE). It dispensed with the overt formality of Clerical (隸書/Li Shu) and Seal Scripts (篆書: Zhuan Shu). Likewise, it eschewed the liberation and near-illegibility of the Cursive Scripts. Fully embracing the tools of the Calligrapher, Kai Shu became the favored script for everyday writing, and remains so to this day. Although Seal and Clerical scripts may be chosen as the first to learn, choosing to start with Standard Script will best allow the novice to experiment with greater freedom or formality in later stages.

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