The word calligraphy comes from the Greek words kallos
(beautiful) and graphos
(writing or drawing), and refers to decoratively arranged letter shapes. In the Far East, calligraphy is considered an art equal to painting and poetry, and is traditionally done with a brush and ink on paper or silk.
Both Chinese and Japanese Buddhist monks first brought calligraphy to Japan, although in time, the Japanese created their own style, called hiragana. Not confined to Buddhist monks, however, some of the most efficient calligraphers were emperors and warriors.
Today, the craft of turning handwriting into an artform lives on. The writing tools may have changed, but the resplendence of calligraphy has not, and just about anyone can try their hand at it. It may be difficult to master at first, but it is not impossible, and the end result will be a beautiful representation of something known as the highest form of Far East art.
Our May 2002 newsletter
, The Art of Beautiful Writing, features the topic of calligraphy.