Chinese calligraphy is an oriental form of art which has been a part of traditional Chinese art and culture for many years. It is, as the name "calligraphy" suggests, a beautiful form of writing, using the Chinese alphabet. The origin of Chinese Calligraphy is not very specific, although there is a tale that a man named Cang Jie created this art during the reign of the Yellow Emperor, around 4000 years back, in China. However, Chinese calligraphy gained prominence only during the reign of the Quin Dynasty. Chinese calligraphy, over the years, has been overwhelming people with its beautiful, elaborate style and its ability express creativity.
Whether you like Chinese calligraphy for its artistic touch, or you like collecting artifacts, or you are looking forward to indulging yourself in the art of calligraphy, in any form, Chinese calligraphy can prove to be a satisfying hobby.
Basic Tools for Chinese Calligraphy
Like most other hobbies, to get started with Chinese calligraphy, some basic tools are needed. These basic tools are referred to as the "Four Treasures of the study", which include the brush, the paper, the inkstick and the inkstone. The brush is made out of animal hair taken from animals such as, deer, rabbits, wolves, foxes or even mice. The type of brush you use is entirely dependent on your style of writing, small and delicate or bold.
Regarding the paper, it should have a fine texture and should be absorbent to some extent. The Chinese ink comes in the form of solid inksticks made from oil smoke or soot of pinewood, and a gum substance. Inkstones, which are actually made out of stone are flat, hard and sometimes come in beautiful shapes. To prepare the ink for writing, you will need to put water on the inkstone and then grind your inkstick against it. You can buy these tools easily from a local stationary shop, or walk into a traditional Chinese bookstore to buy an authentic toolbox, or online, from any popular shopping website.
You must pay attention to a couple of things before you get too involved in mastering the art of strokes. Brushes should be kept straight and stiff pointed. If the brushes are not in proper condition, then you tend to get nasty black marks on your paper and your art can get hampered. In addition, before you start, grind enough ink in the inkstone, in order to last your entire writing, or you may not be able to get the same shade from a fresh batch. Also, while writing, you need to hold your brush straight up and down, without letting your palm touch the brush.
Chinese Calligraphy needs a lot of practice and you need to learn the Chinese letters and the various strokes first. To aid you further you can buy books about Chinese Calligraphy, such as "Chinese Brushwork in Calligraphy & Painting: Its History Aesthetics & Techniques" by Kwo Da-wei, "The Art of Chinese Calligraphy" by Jean Long. This will help you gain more insight into the fine art of Chinese calligraphy.