Skip to Content

College of Arts & Sciences
Confucius Institute

Confucius Institute at USC held 2017 Chinese Calligraphy Tour in the US

November 6, 2017 to November 21, 2017 witnessed the renowned Chinese calligrapher Fangshi Liu’s calligraphy tour in the U.S. Mr Liu spent two weeks giving 10 lectures on Chinese Calligraphy.  His first stop was San Francisco, California, and he ended his tour in Columbia, South Carolina. his lecture has attracted more than 500 people who are interested in Chinese Calligraphy.  

This lecture tour in the U.S was mainly hosted by Confucius Institute at USC. Other well-known universities and colleges are also involved in co-sponsorship, such as the San Francisco State University, Atlanta International School, Kennesaw State University, Emory University, Georgia State University, Augusta University. 

During the lecture in Columbia, Mr. Liu briefly introduced to the locals the concepts of Chinese Calligraphy, its origin, its development and the unique Chinese writing utensils. He concluded that Chinese Calligraphy was a special art form, "poetry without letters, dance without actions, painting without pictures and music without sound." This metaphor lends the audience a simple idea of what Chinese Calligraphy stands for. 

Mr. Liu also presented his own ideas on how to keep the legacy of Chinese culture, how to improve it, the standard of beauty in Chinese Calligraphy, and how to study the topic. In short, he suggested that to master Chinese Calligraphy, one should need a deep mastery of Chinese literature, a full taste of Chinese culture, and adequate life experience. Personal moral standard and pursuits help modeling the style and quality of the calligraphy. He also pointed out that calligraphy arts should not be used for amusement, entertainment or as an asset for financial gains. The true beauty of Chinese Calligraphy can only be achieved by the simple desire for beauty. Tan Ye, the director of the Confucius Institute at USC acted as translator during the lectures. His translation was precise and to the point, conveying Liu's ideas about Chinese Calligraphy to the audience and helping them grasp the essence of calligraphy culture. 

When the activity got to the interactive part, Mr. Liu demonstrated to the audience in person on how to create calligraphy, and he also invited some participants to try it out themselves. Under his guidance, American students who were never exposed to Chinese characters were able to write a few characters in Chinese Calligraphic way. One student was exceptionally successful with her trying of the character "beauty" in cursive-style calligraphy, which won her huge rounds of applause. When the participants had their tries, Mr. Fangshi Liu gave encouraging evaluations on the works of the audience from professional viewpoints such as the brush holding angle, the character's formation and how well they were able to control the movements when they write. 

In the end, Mr. Liu gave specific suggestions and answers during the Q&A section. The audience expressed their satisfaction with the lecture and declared the activity a very fruitful one. They also agreed that they now have better understanding of both Chinese Calligraphy and Chinese Culture.

This lecture tour opened a window for the American public to learn more about Chinese traditional calligraphy, and also provided them with opportunities of getting close to renowned modern Chinese artists.