Something to write home about
When Chen Hong refused her colleagues’ invitation for a party after work, explaining that she had a calligraphy class to attend, her colleagues were surprised and wanted to know why she was learning the ancient writing style.
Wearing ripped jeans, her hair dyed light yellow, the 23-year-old accountant, who works in Beijing, says she renewed her childhood interest in calligraphy six months ago.
“I spend an hour or two on calligraphy after work at home to calm myself and cultivate my mind,” says Chen, who also loves playing video games, going to karaoke bars and shopping with friends.
Back then, she thought it was boring but now she says she finds it interesting.
“The world runs so fast. I try to slow down with calligraphy,” she says.
Chen, who was forced to learn calligraphy from her father when she was a little girl, is one of an increasing number of Chinese people who are turning to traditional culture in pursuit of spiritual peace and enjoyment in recent years.
Ma Di, a manager in a real estate company in Beijing, says that his lifestyle changed since he embraced calligraphy one year ago.
The 34-year-old goes to the gym regularly and likes to play snooker in his spare time. However, he says he likes the serenity he feels when doing calligraphy.
“I think calligraphy is a good way for me to calm down after a day’s work,” explains Ma of his reason to learn this art which many of his friends think is for old people.
“Before I learned calligraphy, I knew little about our culture and history,” says Ma, adding he plans to spend more time learning about Chinese culture, as practicing calligraphy sparked a strong interest in it.
To get into the spirit of it, he wears a traditional costume at home, and he has set up a separate area with tradi-
The world runs so fast. I try to slow down with calligraphy.” Chen Hong, 23, who practices traditional Chinese calligraphy as a main hobby to achieve a serene mood in the hustle and bustle of the modern world.
tional Chinese wood furniture where he drinks tea instead of coffee.
Li Xiaoya, CEO of Hanxiang, a calligraphy training company in Beijing, says the number of adults learning calligraphy is increasing.
Women who learn calligraphy are often 20 to 30, while the men are more than 40 years old, says Li. “They all want to cultivate their minds through calligraphy,” she says.
Li Xiaoyang, a government officer in Beijing, paid about 7,000 yuan ($1,032) for a yearlong calligraphy course.
The 31-year-old mother of a 4-year-old boy usually spends some time writing calligraphy after playing the drum with her son. She also likes yoga and running, which are popular among mothers of her age in China.
Unlike some mothers who spent time doing online shopping and watching TV dramas, Li Xiaoyang says she likes to sit down reading books. But recently, she has taken to calligraphy.
“I thought it was just another kind of handwriting, but the more I practice, the more I realize it is much more than that,” she says.
She says calligraphy needs a good knowledge in literature, history and philosophy to get some achievement in it.
“It’s a lifetime’s practice,” Li Xiaoyang says.
When she posts her calligraphy work on social media, she receives lots of likes and much praise for how graceful the characters look. “I now want to explore more Chinese culture,” she says.
An increasing number of adults are taking to Chinese calligraphy to cultivate their minds.