Tao in Image
Across 2 and 3 November 2015, Confucius Institute at UNSW Australia was honoured to hold a calligraphy exhibition themed “Tao in Image” by the esteemed Professor He Xuesen.
The opening of the exhibition was attended by a wide array of dignitaries, including the Hon Matt Thistlethwaite MP, Federal Member for Kingsford-Smith; Mr Neil Morris, Vice-President, UNSW Australia; Professor Colin Picker, Associate Dean (International); Counsellor Wang Xiaojia and Consul Liu Wenwu from the Education Office of the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Sydney; and A/Prof Jon von Kowallis, Convenor of Chinese Studies, UNSW Australia.
After welcome and congratulation speeches by Mr Morris, Mr Wang and Mr Thistlethwaite, Professor He gave a short lecture on calligraphy. One of the first times he has ever given a speech in English, the lecture provided a unique insight into the history and significance of Chinese calligraphy. Professor He is rather unique within the contemporary calligraphy world because he is both an artist and an academic. Professor He is a professor in Chinese Calligraphy within the Literature Department at Capital Normal University. He has published several academic works such as Five Thousand Years of Calligraphy, The Bridge of Running Script and his own calligraphy collection The Calligraphy of Xuesen. He is especially accomplished in running script and cursive script, and has inherited the calligraphy styles of the calligrapher Wang Xizhi (303-361) and Wang Xianzhi from the Jin Dynasty, as well as the Four Calligraphers of Song Dynasty. Through academic and artistic integration, he has developed a unique calligraphy style that has both traditional elegance as well as a touch of his own innovative movements.
The exhibition itself consisted of 28 long, hanging scrolls. Some of the scrolls contained just a single character, others four-character Chinese idioms, and others whole lines from ancient Chinese poems. Professor He has mastered many different styles of calligraphy-writing, all of which were on display at the exhibition. Perhaps the most intriguing style was zhuan (seal)-writing style, which is the form of Chinese characters used centuries ago. Very few Chinese people today able to read them, but Professor He has mastered how to both read and write them.
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