The history of Chinese calligraphy is believed to be as long as that China herself.
We’re saying “Chinese” here, but Chinese culture is influenced so many Asian countries, that everything here is true for any other Asian ink art or calligraphy.
You can read more about that in a separate post: Chinese and Japanese Calligraphy: an Eternal Journey
Despite it uses Chinese characters as its medium of expression, one doesn’t need to understand Chinese to appreciate its beauty. Calligraphy, in essence, is an abstract art. Yet it’s one of the highest forms of Chinese art, the chief and most fundamental element in every branch of it. What is really distinctive about Chinese calligraphy is the fact that is not separate and inferior craft, but an essential element in the artistic life of the Chinese people.
The aesthetics of Chinese calligraphy are simply this: that a beautiful form should be beautifully executed. But this is also true for Chinese painting, sculpture and pottery – this is a universal principle of all art, and it implies, not merely that the work of art should be formally perfect, but that it should also be organically vital.
In Chinese calligraphy, the main principle of composition is in every case a balance and poise similar to that of a figure standing, walking or dancing. The beauty of Chinese calligraphy is essentially the beauty of plastic movement, not formal and motionless shape. That beauty is subtle and difficult to understand, but when you see it in the works of great masters, you will recognize it immediately.
When calligrapher is writing a character or a poem, his/her mind planning the construction of the strokes and the characters, as well as contemplating the inner spiritual thoughts, before the tip of the brush touches the paper. When it touches the paper, there is no time to think or plan anymore, mind and brush become one and true art is born.
On this page, we selected works of many famous ancient master calligraphers to show You the magnificent beauty of the ink art.
Try to simply look at them without analyzing technique, theory or “What does is mean?”.
Open your mind to the beauty of brush movement and artistic expression.
Appreciate it as a whole, and you will see the inner beauty of Asian Ink art.