Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Method of holding the brush when using the Calligraphy Alphabet

The Chinese method of holding the brush

There are various styles and techniques used to hold the brush when used to develop one’s use of the calligraphy alphabet for artful writing. I have provided a brief description in the following paragraphs of two different genres or cultures.

How the brush is held depends on which calligraphic genre is practiced. For Chinese calligraphy, the method of holding the brush is more special; the brush is held vertically straight gripped between the thumb and middle finger. The index finger lightly touches the upper part of the shaft of the brush (stabilizing it) while the ring and little fingers tuck under the bottom of the shaft. The palm is hollow and you should be able to hold an egg in there. This method, although difficult to hold correctly for the beginner, allows greater freedom of movement, control and execution of strokes. For Japanese calligraphy, the brush is held in the right hand between the thumb and the index finger, very much like a Western pen.

A paperweight is placed at the top of all but the largest pages to prevent slipping; for smaller pieces the left hand is also placed at the bottom of the page for support.

In China, there are many people who practice calligraphy in public places such as parks and sidewalks, using water as their ink and the ground as their paper. These skillful artists use very large brushes with this technique. Although such calligraphic work using the calligraphy alphabet is temporary, they serve the dual purpose of both being an informal public display of one's work, and an opportunity to further practice one's calligraphy.

1 comment:

Alexander said...

the calligraphy alphabet is both a mysterious and beautiful thing. When done properly the mastery and artistry are a wonder to behold.