The Genesis of Chinese Writing & the Art of Calligraphy: Exhibit Displays

A LibGuide to accompany the Chinese Calligraphy Exhibit on display in November.

Come to the library and view the beauty of hand-painted Chinese calligraphy! The exhibit features sixteen panels of calligraphy in six traditional styles by master calligrapher He BingWu, featuring excerpts from Buddhist and Daoist texts as well as Chinese poetry, history, and idioms. A large twelve-panel display shows the evolution of Chinese writing from the ceramic script of 5000 BCE through the simplified script of the present day. 

This exhibit is enhanced with augmented reality content created with Aurasma. By using Aurasma for free on your smartphone or tablet, you can access digital texts, images, and videos that are tied to the exhibit content. Talk with a librarian to find out how to check out augmented reality when you visit the exhibit Chinese Writing & the Art of Calligraphy!


Exhibit Writings and Captions

Chinese transcription Exhibit caption About
天 邊 幽 鳥 鳴 相 和, 月 下 游 魚 樂 自 知。 “On the edge of sky birds sing in harmony, under the moon swimming fish know their own happiness.” A quote from Wang Anshi, a noted Chinese poet during the Song Dynasty (960–1279 AD). Anshi was traditionally classed as one of the Eight Great Prose Masters of the Tang and Song.
雄 視 “Grand visage” Many of the world's largest statues can be found in China. The largest statue in the world is the Spring Temple Buddha, completed in 2002, which is 128 metres (420 ft) tall.
眾 志 成 城 "People’s united will can build city wall" This is a phrase from the first Chinese epic named Guoyu, written between the 4th and 5th centuries BC.
芳 草 无 語 “Pretty grass has no speech”  
高 山 流 水 “High mountain and flowing water” Did you know that Mount Everest, the tallest mountain in the world, is in China?
江 山 多 嬌 "The rivers and mountains are so flirtatiously gorgeous." A phrase from a poem by Chairman Mao.
心 禪 “Zen in heart”  
既 心 是 佛 “Presently in heart is Buddha” A Buddhist idiom.
萬 福 無 極 “Plenty fortune without limit”  
無 欲 "No desire" The Four Noble Truths of Buddhism
坐 飲 談 叢 “Sit down, drink tea and converse about anything” The name of a book which is regarded as an elaboration of the entire history of Weiqi, Chinese chess.
品 茗 論 道 “Sipping tea and chat about Dao” Daoism - along with Ancestor Worship, Buddhism, and Confucianism - are China's four native major religions. Daoism (also spelled "Taoism") originated in the writings of Laozi (also spelled "Lao-tsu"), who lived about the same time as Confucius in the 6th Century BCE. Daoism promotes the liberation of the human mind/soul by living in accordance with the transient, natural "Dao" ("Way") of the Universe. (from "China A to Z", May-lee Chai and Winberg Chai)
華 景 “Magnificent View”  
善 念 佛 心 “Think of goodness in Buddha’s heart”  
观 海 “Viewing the Sea” China's borders extend to the Yellow Sea, East China Sea, South China Sea, Bohai Sea, Korea Bay, and the Sea of Japan.
“Harmony” Laozi's Tao Te Ching - the central text of Daoism - encourages complete harmony with nature. The ideal people are like newborn infants, moving about without schemes or inhibitions. True sages, Laozi argues, empty themselves of the discriminations forced upon them by their language and culture. (From "Daoism", Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
“Beauty” Beauty in Buddhism is perhaps best exemplified by the Lotus Flower: "Just as a lotus rises from the mud through water toward sunlight, one seeking enlightenment moves from ignorance toward full presence of mind. " (From "The Art of Buddhism: A Teacher's Guide", Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution )
“Dragon” “The Dragon is not a sign of terror as it appears in the Western world. On the contrary, the dragon is seen as a symbol of good fortune and protection. He has the power to make himself invisible at any time and can also reduce his size as small as a silk worm or expand in size so great that he fills up the skies.”
一 飛 衝 青 天, 曠 世 不 再 鳴。 “Fly to break through the blue sky, unrivaled I need never cry again.” A line from Ruan Ji, a poet in the era of the Three Kingdoms.
室 雅 何 须 大,花 香 不 在 多 “If the room is elegant it needs not be too big. If the flower has delicate fragrance it needs not be too many?” It is said by Zheng Banqiao, a famous poet and calligrapher in Qing Dynasty.
聽 濤 “Listen to the Waves”  
吉 祥 如 意 “Fortune blessed as wished” This is a typical blessing idiom Chinese people use in festivities, auspicious occasions etc.
無 事 是 佛 “Nothingness (no happening) is Buddha” To find out more about Buddhism, enroll in Columbus State's comparative religion course or look at books in the 294 section.
大 膽 文 章 拼 命 酒 "Writing articles with great courage, challenging life with drinks"  
坎 坷 生 涯 斷 腸 詩。 Living life on a bumpy road, gut wrenching with poems. Scrolls 3a and 3b are a quote by Chinese playwright Hong Shen.
日 暖 風 清 “Sun is warm, wind is clear”  
清 香 Pure Scent  
秋 實 “Autumn harvest”  
荷 韻 “The melody of Lotus” Lotus is given metaphorical symbol being virtuous and elegant by many ancient Chinese poets since it lives in the silt but not imbrued.
和 諧 Harmony  
月 季 Roses A traditional flower breed in China and loved by many Chinese.


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