- Code ASIA2073
- Unit Value 6 units
- Offered by School of Culture History and Language
- ANU College ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
- Course subject Asian Studies
- Areas of interest Asian Languages, Non Language Asian Studies
- Academic career UGRD
- Mode of delivery In Person
- Offered in See Future Offerings
This course is not on offer in 2018.
“Had I been born Chinese, I would have been a calligrapher, not a painter.” said Pablo Picasso. Why was calligraphy so attractive to him? Why has the art of writing lines become so appealing? Chinese calligraphy certainly is a “second to none” art form, and is without doubt the most important form of art in Chinese history. In daily and academic lives, Chinese words/characters are not only for embodying meaning, but also for various purposes of cultural expression, such as writing, artistic performing, religion, aesthetics and philosophy, social life and “tempering personality”. In fact, it is rare to find any Chinese literati without the ability to function in this art in earlier historical periods. Therefore, it can be said that Chinese culture truly is a filled “culture of words.”
Additionally, Chinese history is closely reflected in the long development of Chinese characters, which has evolved into different styles. It creates a set of delicate and profound Chinese aesthetic theory, which echoes Chinese art theory and philosophy, such as “the vacuity vs. substance” (or “the empty/illusionary” vs. “the real/full/solid/the substance”), and loose vs. density, or the dialectical relationship between“blackness vs. whiteness” (or the black line vs. the white space). Chinese calligraphy can also be said to be a unique abstract art through linear expression. In Taiwan, Mainland China, Korea and Japan, postgraduate degrees in calligraphy are offered in Chinese or art departments. Learning and knowing Chinese calligraphy as such is necessary for all Chinese studies, especially those wanting an advanced understanding about Chinese history and culture.
This course provides students with a general, yet profound, introduction to Chinese calligraphy. Through practice and knowledge acquirement, such as holding a brush, writing and knowing the knowledge of the "four treasures”, students can experience this ancient Chinese art and cultivate an interest for Chinese culture. As simplified Chinese has gradually become a dominant trend nowadays, traditional Chinese nevertheless is still a genuine access point to Chinese culture and Sinology in terms of its history, aesthetics and philosophy and literati circles. Simplified vs. traditional characters also reflects in different Chinese societies, namely Mainland China and Taiwan. Students will learn how to write and appreciate this “art of lines,” accompanied by the knowledge of its history and theory.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:On the successful completion of this course, students will be able to:
1. Demonstrate an understanding of issues in the history and culture of Chinese calligraphy;
2. Integrate theoretical and aesthetic knowledge into practical experience;
3. Appreciate and analyse this Chinese art form;
4. Put into practice comparative principles of reading traditional and simplified Chinese characters;
5. Develop basic skills of writing calligraphy.
Indicative AssessmentCourse Participation - 10% (LOs: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
Oral presentation and analysis - 20% (LOs: 1, 2, 3, 4)
Final exhibition art work - 50% (LOs: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
Interpretation card for final exhibition art work - 20% (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
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Requisite and Incompatibility
Prescribed TextsBarrass, Gordon S. The art of calligraphy in modern China. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Billeter, Jean François, 1990. The Chinese Art of Writing. New York: Rizzoli International Publications, Inc.
Lai, T. C. 1973. Chinese Calligraphy: Its mystic beauty. Hongkong: Swindon Book Company.
Li, Wendan, 2009. Chinese writing and calligraphy. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i
Murck, Alfreda and Wen C. Fong eds. 1991. Words and images: Chinese poetry, calligraphy, and painting. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art; Princeton : Princeton University Press.
Tseng, Yu-ho Ecke, 1971. Chinese Calligraphy. Philadelphia Museum of Art & Boston Book & Art, Publisher.
Willetts, William. 1981. Chinese calligraphy: its history and aesthetic motivation (the record of an exhibition of Chinese calligraphic art held in the University of Malaya from 17 October to 10 November 1977). Hong Kong; New York: Oxford University Press.
Yen, Yuehping. 2005. Calligraphy and power in contemporary Chinese society. London; New York: RoutledgeCurzon.
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- 6 units
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