Celebrating Chinese New Year - Chinese Calligraphy

by Tricia Morrissey, Dec 27, 2005 | Destinations: China / Beijing

Chinese calligraphy is the art of writing Chinese characters with a brush. Calligraphers have to follow strict rules. Each character requires a certain number of brush strokes written in a specific order. Calligraphers have followed the same rules for thousands of years. Still, just as with handwriting and drawing, every person's calligraphy looks a little different.

Chinese calligraphers use four tools, which they call The Four Treasures of the Study. The first tool, the brush, is made by sliding animal hair into a bamboo or wooden tube. Stiff wolf hair makes a brush with a hard, precise tip. Soft, white goat hair and black rabbit hair hold more ink and make the calligrapher's brush strokes look dense and heavy.

The second tool, the ink stick, is made by burning pine sap or oil and mixing the soot with glue. This sticky mixture is pressed into molds and allowed to dry, becoming hard sticks of dry ink.

Calligraphers make liquid ink by rubbing the ink sticks, clean water and a little salt against hard, smooth ink stones. The best ink stones are carved from river rocks and are handed down from generation to generation.

Before paper was invented, calligraphers wrote on strips of dried bamboo or silk. Today, calligraphers use rice paper?thin, delicate paper made, not from rice, but from material inside the trunk of a rice paper tree.

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A New Year's Legend
New Year's Traditions
Flowers & Plants
Eating Together
Lion Dance
Tray of Happiness
Red Envelopes
Lantern Festival
Chinese Calligraphy
Chinese Brush Painting