The art of calligraphy has been a prominent part of many East Asian civilizations over time. It is however the country of China which is credited as being the centre from where calligraphy writing flourished. It is from here that the neighboring regions of Korea, Vietnam and Japan picked up the art form.
Chinese calligraphy writing is considered to be a very unique form of art that originated in the East but gained appreciation all over the world with time. Through the course of the years Chinese calligraphy has inspired many new techniques and innovations with regards to the tools that were traditionally used for practicing the art.
Basically the art form required the use of four main tools. They were the paper, ink, brush and the ink stone. Together they were known as the four treasures of the study. Other important tools include the desk pads especially for the students and paperweights. These are the components of the traditional calligraphy writing tool bag.
Chinese calligraphy paper
With regards to the paper that calligraphy artists used they came in a number of different varieties. The most commonly used paper was the Xuanzhi which is made from Tartar wingceltis, mulberry, hemp and bamboo. The desk pad however is made using felt which is commonly used by students.
The ink and the inkstick were made using lampback soot and binders. The ink sticks were used by rubbing them against the inkstone which leaves its marks on it. Today however one can make use of pre mixed ink bottles that are a lot easier and cost effective to use.
Traditionally all Chinese calligraphy was done using black ink on white paper. With time however different colors got introduced into the art form and Chinese calligraphy took on different forms. Orange and red where amongst the first colors to be introduced into the art, which were actually used to make corrections by teachers on their student’s works.
The brush is perhaps the single most important instrument used in the art form. As it is the Chinese are highly revered for their mastery over the brush. The library of calligraphic arts originating from the region is a testament to their superior skill. Not only were the Chinese experts with using the brush rather they were known and are still considered to be one of the best producers of the highest quality calligraphy brushes.
Traditionally the Chinese calligraphy artists would make use of bamboo to make their brushes. There are however examples of exquisite brushes made using gold, silver, glass, sandalwood and ivory. The feathers and hair coats of different animals were used to make the heads of the brushes such as the goat, chicken, wolf, pig and even tigers.
Calligraphy is a very delicate form of art and requires years of practice to master. Getting the correct stroke order and proper balance on paper is a task that requires one to be supervised by a highly trained calligrapher. Only expert supervision and years of practice produces a skilled calligrapher.
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