Principles of Chinese Calligraphy

Author’s Postface

Chinese calligraphy is a very deep and detail-oriented art. It has various secret and esoteric techniques which are not easy to translate into English due to the lack of equivalent English vocabularies or ideology. Chinese calligraphy principles and theories may not be easy for some beginners or non-Chinese speaking people to grasp. Only after we have practiced it for a long time will we understand most of the major principles and theories as presented here and in other Chinese calligraphy theory books. 

I have received suggestions about reducing or increasing the depth of articles presented here. Though the artistic level of Chinese calligraphy cannot be comprised or sacrificed, I am still trying to balance the depth and readability of articles and the way Chinese calligraphy knowledge is to be presented  in English. A reminder is that the principles of Chinese calligraphy are somewhat or very different from the principles and techniques of Chinese Brush Painting which will be available in the future. Though it's generally true that the techniques of Chinese Brush Painting are derived from Chinese calligraphy, one cannot use the calligraphy techniques and principles in painting without understandings and adjustments.

The contents of the "Principles", "Theories", "Philosophy", and "Articles" are more like my personal journey of Chinese calligraphy than textbook instructions. They are not intended to replace textbooks, other sources or instructors even though my approaches are somewhat different. Over all, I treat Chinese calligraphy as just one of the many life forms and take a holistic approach to "practice" it, not just to "know" or "appreciate" it as a bystander. I encourage those who are interested in this art to pick up a brush and practice. And day by day, we may realize the journey is beautiful and has a lot to share.


"The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one." ~ Mark Twain

Some people think about it without doing it; some do it without thinking; some talk without doing or thinking. I do, I think, and I see it. ~ An old proverb


There are some good websites both in English and Chinese listed in the “Links” section. I wish all a happy experience in learning and sharing Chinese calligraphy in its grandeur beauty, depth, and spirit. 


(Principles Menu)