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Calligraphy is one of traditional Chinese arts, a mixture of skill, personal characteristic and aesthetics. When I was in the elemental school, when tests did not matter so much as they do today, calligraphy was a compulsory course for pupils. I do not know whether things are still so today. But I really believe that calligraphy is good for people, and making it a course in the elemental schools helps both the culture succession and the cultivating of the pupils. (来源:英语交友 http://friends.englishcn.com)

In the first days or even the first years of calligraphy learning, we are to master the skill to deal with the soft and naughty writing tool---Mao Bi. It is called brush in English. However, no matter from what aspect, that’s not a very proper translation, just thinking of how differently they work! A  Mao Bi is not a brush just as a steamed bun is not a bun. So I would rather call it Mao Bi, even in English. You need to hold it firm, move your wrist skillfully to leave beautiful writings on the paper. Green-hands often find it hard to stop the tremble of the hands. It is not like dance, but kind of Yoga or shadowboxing, benefiting both the body and mind.

While we are practicing the skill with Mao Bi, we also need to learn how to write Chinese characters, here with lower stop of Mao Bi, and there a little bit lighter maybe. There are many different style systems, just as there are many fonts in Words to choose. I would talk about this later. But first, practice takes time!

With respect to writing styles, there are a lot to choose and learn.

The Liu style:

In Chinese it is said to be like “bones”. That means a character of unyielding and stubbornness. Maybe it is like a proud and devout monk.

The Yan style:

Though it is said to be like “tendons”, I feel that it has the bearing of an aristocrat.

The Ou style:

It is a very graceful style with mellifluence like the Waltz. Just think of a swan.

Style of the inscription in steles made in the Wei dynasty:

It is the one that I am learning now. It is like an anchoret. Maybe it is still not so correct. It has the style of Henry Thoreau’s The Walden and Francis Bacon’s essays, idyllic as you are wandering in the Alps.

Li Shu (It could be traced back to the Qin Dynasty and is popular in Han Dynasty):

This style seems quite lovely and cozy, like Frances Mayes’s Bella Tuscany. You could never know what kind of interesting traveling experience is waiting for you ahead. As long as some basic rules are abided, any variation is possible.

Xiao Zhuang:

The first emperor of China not only unified the country, but also the metrology and writing of letters. Xiao Zhuang is what favored that emperor. It is like the symphony, elegant but complex.

Cao Shu:

They are wild lightning, dancing waves. Melodies are impassioned. Some artists even preferred to do it after a drink. Yes, they burned their emotions to write. It is not strange at all that some of the characters are hard to recognize.

Which one would you like best? Choose it and learn! Try to be patient; try to be prudential; try to be a good observer; try to be a good planner; but keep capriccioso. Then you get a good calligraphy work and have fun. There might be a long way, but definitely you could reach it. I think for mind and life it is quite the same.

 
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