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ArtPoetryFusion

Art and Poetry – Rediscovering the Power of Fusion

Month

February 2016

The Three Perfections – Poetry, Painting, and Calligraphy: An Introduction

Source: The Three Perfections – Poetry, Painting, and Calligraphy: An Introduction

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The Three Perfections – Poetry, Painting, and Calligraphy: An Introduction

Calligraphy is a word derived from the Greek word kalligraphiā, which means “beautiful writing.” We usually associate the word with attractive handwriting. The dictionary meaning of calligraphy is beautiful writing with a pen or brush. And why are we talking about calligraphy in this blog? Well, calligraphy is one of the earliest forms of fusion, and more importantly, a part of what is called ‘The Three Perfections’ 🙂

In China, calligraphy is recognized as an art form in itself, and can be as important a part of a painting as the painting itself. It is regarded as the highest art form. Its artistic and expressive qualities are independent of the meanings of the written words. In some instances calligraphy is used to decorate articles of everyday use, such as fans and dishes. The style of the calligraphy will vary from one individual to another, but training and practice in early grade years make characters that are uniform and consistently accepted.

A Wikipedia article mentions that Three perfections is the gathering of poets, calligraphers and painters to create an artwork in ancient China. The resulting product would be a painting that would include the work of a calligrapher to write a poem. Legend holds that the Tang dynasty poets Du Fu and Li Bai were the first to introduce the combination of painting and poetry into one artwork. Several hundred years later, Su Shi, a poet and painter, promoted the use of poetry and painting together. Instruction of artists at the Northern Song Imperial Painting Academy included the integration of poetry and painting. As a result of the prevalence of the merged arts into the “Three perfections” a common expression emerged, the “soundless poem” to describe how one might experience a painting with sound, sight, smell and feel.

In a subsequent write-up, we will share some examples of the Three Perfections.

 

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