Calligraphy, Painting and Poetry

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Soaring Dragon Gallery
Calligraphy by Dapeng Qian

This page is configured based on two ambitious objectives: first to promote a deeper understanding of Chinese calligraphy, and second, to foster a greater appreciation of this ancient art.

Calligraphy (artful writing), has been considered the ultimate art-form by the Chinese educated elite since at least the Han Dynasty. A calligrapher was expected to demonstrate strength of character and personality through the use of brush and ink. My friend and mentor, Shantien Tom Chow, said “The wisdom and art of calligraphy remains one of the most revered artistic traditions in East Asia. With almost four millennia of gradual evolution and at times dynamic changes, calligraphy has not only survived but emerged with triumph. Today, this ancient heritage is increasingly being appreciated and practiced worldwide.”

Imagine painting these masterful brush works with Tom, Ve-na and Dapeng. Explore the techniques and aesthetics by tracing the movement of the ink, sense the rhythm of the flowing lines and feel the fabric of their artistic creations. Their calligraphy is in fact a dance in which the artist has three partners : brush, paper and ink. The rhythm and flow are controlled through character size, contrast between dark and light, and speed of stroke application. Notice that these brush strokes are strong, solid, and purposeful. Each stroke has a different form and once a calligraphy stroke is done, it cannot be amended, enhanced or fixed. These accomplished calligraphers establish rhythm, flow, and balance in what appears to be a completely spontaneous brush work.

Calligraphy by Dapeng Qian
Translation by Yuanchong Xu, Professor of
English at Peking University
Large character – Tiger
Small cursive characters excerpted from
the poem of Mount Skyland Ascended in a Dream –
A Song of Farewell by Li Bai (701-762)
(Clad in the rainbow, riding on the wind,
The Lords of Clouds descend in a procession long.)
Their chariots drawn by phoenix disciplined,
and Tigers playing for them a zither song,
Row upon row, like fields of hemp, immortals throng.
Hanging Scroll by Shantien Tom Chow to celebrate the 100th anniversary of my father’s birth. Tom interpreted my poem, Fisherman’s Moon and transformed it by writing seven (large) Chinese characters (Vast deep blue sea, bright and luminous moon shinning upon an old fisherman.)
Translation of small characters: Honorable Inscription:
Sensei Howard Meyer for your father’s Centennial Celebration
Congratulations from Shantien Chow
Calligraphy by Ve-na Chen
Ve-na attempted to copy Huai Su’s cursive style as a way of studying and practicing calligraphy.
This masterful work is from Huai Su’s autobiography. The original work contained quoted sentences from multiple poems. “Huai Su’s scripts are like swift moving dragons and serpents traveling around with their aura filling up the empty spaces; his scripts are as compelling as if one is hearing the loud roars that can fill up an entire hall created from abrupt raindrops and violent swirling winds,”