Confucius (孔子/Kong Zi/K’ung Tzu): Forming a Chinese Social Identity
Throughout the world, perhaps no single Chinese historical personage is as recognized as Confucius is. Indeed, the writings of Kong Zi (the correct transliteration of his name) are comparable in their effect on the Chinese, and Asian, world view as are the Classical philosophies of Plato and Aristotle are in the West.
Artistic Excellence: the Definition of a Master in the Tradition of Chinese Calligraphy
Even a cursory study of Chinese Art, both in painting and calligraphy, must at some point deal with the personalities who shaped artistic values across history. The styles of individual artists have been central to the traditional arts of China since the Han, and as a result, personal style and emulation have been more important in China than they were in the West. While antique styles have endured in the West, in China these styles can be traced back far more readily to individual persons than to more abstract aesthetic principles.
It is not clear exactly what brought about the decline of the Shang (商) civilization. What is clear is that in approximately 1050 BCE, the Shang was defeated and replaced by the incumbent Zhou (周/Chou) state. By way of comparison with Western history, this was slightly after the end of the Egyptian New Kingdom, and slightly before the assumed birth date of the Biblical King David.
The Role of Chinese Calligraphy as a Literary Art in Poetry
While most of the articles on this website focus on calligraphy as a visual art, it is also a literary art. The words chosen for a calligraphic work are just as important as the excellence of their realization. While short propitious phrases, tracts from philosophical or religious texts, essays, and even personal letters have all been cites of calligraphic work, poetry is perhaps the most common focus of calligraphy.
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.