Confucius regarded calligraphy as one of the six arts that any real gentlemen should possess.
Moreover, some people now disregard the importance of calligraphy as an integral part of the modern Chinese language. Others say it is merely a practice for old men. But this is unfair and unwise. Calligraphy, although considered to be dated in some circles, is about much more than simply passing the time.
There is no doubt that calligraphy is not easy. Non-native Chinese speakers will undoubtedly find it particularly challenging. After all, it is not just about the writing. The ink, the paper, the brushes and the mood all play an important role. Rather than being a simple exercise in ancient writing, practicing calligraphy today is, as Confucius says, an art form.
Here are three things that will happen to you when you begin practicing Chinese calligraphy.
You Will Learn Patience
If you think that you know what it means to be patient then you have never tried to write in Chinese calligraphy.
Patience and perseverance are two of the most important aspects of learning calligraphy. This is because Chinese calligraphy is incredibly detail oriented. Even a stroke that moves in only slightly the wrong way can ruin an entire piece of work.
Thus, when you are practicing calligraphy, you must be patient. Calligraphy is not an art to be rushed. In fact, it is one of the most relaxing things that you can practice. But in order for it to be relaxing, you have to be patient. When drawing calligraphy, mistakes are not an error. Mistakes are part of the journey.
You Will Become More Focused
Calligraphy requires a huge amount of focus. It is a very detail oriented practice. It requires all of your mind to engage with your drawings.
But this focus does not just require concentration on the task at hand. This is only half of the battle. Your focus must be restrained yet positive. It must be free of any negative thoughts in order for you to create a beautiful character.
Your focus is your intention in Chinese calligraphy. If you go into it focused on mastering it for any reason other than to improve your body and mind, you will often find that you will lose your concentration, become frustrated and ultimately fail at the task.
You Will Understand the Beauty of Subtlety
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Many modern people only find things to be beautiful which are obviously attractive. Supermodels, the clean lines of modern design and exuberant sunsets all fit this description for most people. This is why many animators looking for a college for animators, seek out calligraphy as a way of supplementing their drawing skills.
But beauty is not just in the overall picture. In Chinese calligraphy, beauty can be found in only the tiniest details of the character. It might be the smallest brush stroke in one part of the character that makes it completely unique and beautiful.
When you practice calligraphy, you will learn how to recognize beauty in not only the big things but the tiniest details as well. This outlook will change the way you view yourself and the world around you. Chinese calligraphy can transform your world into a beautiful place without you ever having to leave your home.
Chinese calligraphy is not a hobby. It is also not a practice only for sages or old men. Everyone can benefit from learning and practicing Chinese calligraphy, even if you don’t know Chinese.
Some people say that Chinese calligraphists enjoy the gift of a long life. But in order to enjoy a long life, you need to understand patience, focus and beauty. Without these things, life is ordinary and boring. But with Chinese calligraphy, your entire world can change.
Featured photo credit: Axel Rouvin via flickr.com
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