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This is the classic introduction to Chinese calligraphy. In nine richly illustrated chapters Chiang Yee explores the aesthetics and the technique of this art in which rhythm, line, and structure are perfectly embodied. He measures the slow change from pictograph to stroke to the style and shape of written characters by the great calligraphers.
Speech and writing are two organs of the same human impulse--the conveyance of thought: the one operating through hearing, the other through sight; the one by sound from mouth to ear, the other by form or image from hand to eye. But each can do something besides convey thought. Spoken words can be so arranged as to discharge aesthetic "musical" significances, as in much Western poetry. Written words can be formed to liberate visual beauties; and it is these which form the subject of this book. In addition to aesthetic considerations, the text deals with such more practical subjects as the origin and construction of the Chinese characters, styles, technique, strokes, composition, training, and the relations between calligraphy and other forms of Chinese art.
For the third edition the author has added two new chapters: "Calligraphy and Painting" discusses the dependence of Chinese painting on calligraphic training and techniques; "Aesthetic Principles" explores the fundamental concepts underlying every Chinese art form.
Chinese Calligraphy is a superb appreciation of beauty in the movement of strokes and in the patterns of structure--and an inspiration to amateurs as well as professionals interested in the decorative arts.
Preface, by Sir Herbert Read
II. The Origin and Construction of Chinese Characters
III. The Styles
IV. The Abstract Beauty of Chinese Calligraphy
VI. The Strokes
IX. The Relations Between Calligraphy and Other Forms of Chinese