Session 5: Chinese Calligraphy for Beginners

The term ‘beginner’ means something different to each of my students; some are writing Tang dynasty poems in full and others are struggling with individual characters.

We are in the second half of the term and students are expected to have learnt the basic skills, if not the mastery that they may or may not acquire in the years to come.  Some of the students will not return after the eight weeks course so I intend to take those through to a satisfactory conclusion: the completion of an art work.  If less than six of the ten do not intend to return, I will retire in three weeks.  It’s time.

In Session Five they must commit to a project that they will work on for the rest of the term.  We will discuss the layout of each piece, including inscriptions, dedications and signatures.  They may or may not wish to date their work but I will speak to them about the traditional Chinese dating system.  We ran out of time for that a couple of weeks ago.  We always run out of time; so much to cover in 90 minutes.

After that I  will no longer address the class as a whole.  The projects that they have chosen for their end-of-year presentation are varied.  Some have bad habits that they need to watch and others need guidance with brush work.  One student even asked to learn a different script for her project!  She would need to be a quick learner.

If the students expect  to add artistry to their work, they will have to open their eyes to the works of centuries past.  No input; no output.  I will bring several volumes of historically significant and well known pieces for them to peruse and be inspired.



About Mary Tang

An urban orchardist everyday, a volunteer regularly, a poet sometimes and a blogger since March 2015. I travel when I can. Food is a constant.
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10 Responses to Session 5: Chinese Calligraphy for Beginners

  1. gaiainaction says:

    Interesting Mary that you introduce your students to historical works, it is sure to give great inspiration.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. taphian says:

    I love these Chinese letters a lot, that’s real art and you’re a really good teacher.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dalo 2013 says:

    It must be exciting for the students to think about and commit to a project that they will work on for the rest of the term, as it will bring more emotion to their work, as that is part of the brilliance with Chinese calligraphy. Wish I would have taken up the 毛笔 back when I first arrived in China :-)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. arlingwoman says:

    I think this would be difficult without a working knowledge of the language, unless you thought of it as abstract art. You seem to have students with wildly differing skill levels. That must make things interesting!

    Liked by 1 person

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