If there was one art form that best exemplifies traditional China, particularly the golden ages of the Tang and Song dynasties, it would be calligraphy.
Although calligraphy is now thought of as an art form, traditionally it was much more – a way to cultivate personal character. It was considered essential for any cultured person to be skilled in calligraphy (as well as the related skill, painting).
Over the hundreds of years of Imperial China there were many reforms to Chinese characters and several main styles were established. Much of what we know about calligraphy before the Qing dynasty comes from stele, which were stone tablets carved with calligraphy written by scholars, officials and emperors.
In the later Tang Dynasty printing began which stabilized the development of characters and five main styles emerged: (From most formal to least formal) Seal Script, Clerical Script, Regular Script, Semi-cursive Script (similar to normal handwriting) and Cursive Script. These are still written in much the same way today.
Calligraphers use the ‘Four Treasures of the Study’: the brush, usually made of animal hair, the ink, made of soot mixed with glue, paper (or sometimes silk) and an inkstone, which the dry ink was ground on and mixed with water. Whole industries and cultures have grown up around each ‘treasure’, and ink sticks, ink stones and brushes often became prized works of art in themselves.
When beginning calligraphy, students would copy their teacher until they could replicate their calligraphy, writing the same character thousands of times until it was perfect. The amount of ink on the brush, the angle of the brush, the pressure applied and the type of paper used all affected the final character. 永 was often used for beginners as it included all 8 major strokes.
Fortunately, our calligraphy workshops are slightly faster paced, and you won’t be expected to practice each stroke a thousand times before moving to the next step! And while you might not become a master calligrapher during our class, you’ll definitely have a better understanding of the skill and delicate techniques used in creating the stunning cultural treasures you see adorning so many walls around China.
Traditional Chinese Calligraphy Workshop
Location: CK Culture Centre – Songzhuang, Tongzhou
Available Class Times: Workshops can be arranged Mon – Sat 10am – 6pm
Duration: 3 hours
Places: 2 – 6 people
Price: Starting from 788RMB (approx. 118USD) for 2 people + 188RMB (approx. 18USD) per additional person up to 6 people
Payment: Prepayment via PayPal, WeChat, Alipay, bank transfer or cash at our downtown office
Our standard custom workshops are held at our culture centre in Xiaopu Art Village and limited to 6 people, to ensure each attendee gets full attention from the teacher. The price includes a 2-hour private workshop, an English presentation on the language, history and culture of Chinese calligraphy, snacks and Chinese tea. At the end of the workshop, you will be able to take your creations home with you.
As well as the above, we are also happy to take photos of you during your workshop, which can be sent to you to share with friends and family. If you don’t want photos or video taken, please let us know.
In addition to the workshop, we are able to offer the following options:
Downtown pickup & drop off:
+700RMB (approx. 100USD) per group
A delicious lunch or dinner at a nearby Chinese dumpling restaurant:
+50RMB (approx. 8USD) per person
1-hour guided tour of Xiaopu Artists Village:
+100RMB (approx. 15USD) per person
All of these optional extras are subject to availability. Please contact us for more information.
In additional to custom workshops at our culture centre, we are also happy to arrange custom classes at your office, school, hotel or event.
To arrange a workshop for yourself, your group, or to book a workshop at a location of your choice, please contact us to let us know which date you would like to book. Please note that custom classes must be booked at least 48 hours in advance.
Alternatively, feel free to add us directly on WeChat. We’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have!
We look forward to seeing you soon!