Calligraphy: Beautiful, priceless, and still relevant says Chinese master

World-famous Chinese master calligrapher Fo Tao believes the ancient art form remains both popular across the western world and relevant in the modern age.

Tao is a master of sinology and a descendant of Wang Xizhi, the most celebrated of Chinese calligraphers.

Arguably the world's most eminent calligraphy tutor, Tao told CGTN Europe that everyone can learn the beloved written skill, one he describes as "a special artistic phenomenon."

Tao said: "The artistic phenomenon has attracted active, open-minded, and spiritual people globally. When we go to any country in the West, we are loved."

Fo Tao (second from left) at a New York exhibition in 2019. /CGTN
Fo Tao (second from left) at a New York exhibition in 2019. /CGTN

Fo Tao (second from left) at a New York exhibition in 2019. /CGTN

Having hosted major exhibitions worldwide and given a United Nations lecture, Tao is keen to spread knowledge of calligraphy across Europe.

He said: "I am hoping to hold a tour of exhibitions in the UK and Northern Ireland when the time is right. It's a visual art and I hope everyone will start to love the art of calligraphy."

On February 4, the Northern Irish city of Lisburn, near Belfast, will host the Chinese Brushes Spring Exhibition, at the Lisburn lsland Arts Center.

Chinese characters can be traced back to 4000BC and Wang perfected the art of calligraphy in the 4th century CE. It was considered one of the most celebrated skills of ancient Chinese literati, along with playing stringed musical instruments and painting.


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"Calligraphy has a history going back thousands of years," said Tao. "Examples of calligraphy are among the most precious works of history, worth hundreds of millions of dollars."

He added: "I don't think it's very difficult to learn calligraphy. You just have to start with one word. I have Chinese people from some of the most influential families in the world who come to me to study."

Calligraphy scrolls on display in Suzhou, China. /CGTN
Calligraphy scrolls on display in Suzhou, China. /CGTN

Calligraphy scrolls on display in Suzhou, China. /CGTN


The art of calligraphy

Calligraphers primarily use a pen or brush. Calligraphy pens write with nibs that may be flat, round, or pointed. Chinese ink made from soot combined with animal glue is used to write Chinese characters on paper and inkstones.

Tao's calligraphy and three-dimensional Chinese character sculptures have been exhibited in some of the world's biggest cities, such as Beijing, New York and Seoul.

According to the website of the Chinese Culture & Art International Organization, "Mr. Fo Tao has received significant international prestige for his commitment of promoting peace and harmony to the world. He has also been invited to conduct lectures at the UN Summit, the University of Maryland, and Peking University."

Modern calligraphy is often used for wedding invitations, event invitations, logo design, and religious art.

Tao believes the art form remains as important as ever.

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