Summer Palace
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Mastering the Stroke
For the Chinese, calligraphy is not only a practical way of writing characters but it is also a revered art form. As art, the way the calligrapher holds the brush, how he presents and stylizes the character conveys his culture, emotional being and artistic esthetic. Although there are thousands of Chinese characters, no more than eight basic strokes are used to construct any one character. To learn the art of calligraphy, you have to first master these eight strokes and that takes a lot of practice. Everywhere that I went in China, wherever there was a flat piece of concrete, I would see calligraphers practicing their strokes using oversized brushes and water. And as with many art forms, students learn from masters. I came across this teacher and his student at the Summer Palace in Beijing. It seems that for this young boy, mastering the stroke begins with drawing the simple outline of a rabbit.
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