My first approach with Chinese Calligraphy
It’s my first lesson of chinese calligraphy here in Shanghai. My teacher resembles an elder wise wizard, a bit odd, with a nice and passionate smile. I sit down, and notice how every desk is provided with some black ink and a large white paper with a long brush laid on it.
The first thing we were tauhgt is , how to draw the radical “1”.
As previously mentioned in The Mystery of Chinese Characters the brush goes from left to right, and it slightly curls towards the end.
The brush has to be held correctly using the first, second and third fingers, keeping it perpendicular to the paper.
Me, trying to draw the radical at chinese calligraphy lesson.
Chinese characters over the years
In this interesting lesson , we also see how characters developed through time. What I find fanscinating is that the first representation of characters comes from real shapes seen in their every day life. Let’s take for instance the first word of the list: “Rén”that in english means people, person or human . Originally, in Oracle bone, this character clearly resembled a human being, slightly leaned forward. Cool , isn’t it?
It’s astonishing the way my teacher is passionate about the history of characters, it finds ingenious how people have turned the world around them into a readable universe of shapes and meaning… So do I.
The character for Rén 人 in modern simplified chinese (the one in use nowadays), looks slightly different, as the efficency of the writing and the necessity of quick and essential shapes have slowly won over the accurancy of the resemblance. However it’s still easy to picture two legs in the act of walking!
I bet you will recognise the character 人 ,now that you’ve got the right connection!