ABSTRACT

Every line is the trace of a delicate gesture of the hand that holds the brush, a gesture inspired by the calligrapher's close observations of movements in the world around him. In calligraphy as in the dance, the performer concentrates all his energies and sensibilities into a sequence of highly controlled gestures. Throughout history, Chinese calligraphers have sought inspiration from such observations. Chinese writing is in no sense akin to the art of weaving. To get around the problem of nomenclature, Jean-francois billeter uses the neutral term 'element' for each constituent mark of a written character. For in Chinese writing the coherence of the character lies in the movement by which it is drawn. Indeed almost all drawing is tool-assisted, just as almost all writing is. In the case of Chinese writing how the calligrapher is absorbed in the action with the whole of his being, indissolubly body and mind.