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Sat, May 04


Heritage Museum of Asian Art

Calligraphy Workshop with Yuzhe Cao

In this workshop, you will learn about the history and ancient techniques of Chinese calligraphy, and have the opportunity to create your own work of art. All materials included.

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Calligraphy Workshop with Yuzhe Cao
Calligraphy Workshop with Yuzhe Cao

Time & Location

May 04, 2024, 2:30 PM – 3:30 PM

Heritage Museum of Asian Art, 3500 S Morgan St 3rd Fl, Chicago, IL 60609, USA


About the event

Chinese calligraphy is a traditional and ancient art form with a history that stretches back more than 3,000 years. As a unique blend of writing, painting, and poetry, it has been used throughout Chinese history and culture for a variety of purposes, such as communication, art, and self-expression.

On May 4th, the Heritage Museum of Asian Art welcomed Yuzhe Cao, a graduate student at the University of Chicago studying pre-modern Chinese art history. Yuzhe taught two calligraphy workshops—one to a group of 10 students involved in Project: VISION’s after-school programming and another to a group of 15 visitors—showcasing calligraphy’s aesthetics as a blend of painting, poetry, and reflection. These workshops, thanks to Yuzhe Cao's help, marked the beginning of the museum's AAPI Heritage Month Cultural Festival!

Chinese calligraphy is an ancient and revered art form boasting a rich history spanning over 3,000 years. Rooted deeply within Chinese cultural traditions, it uniquely combines the realms of words, paintings, and poetry. Throughout this event, the audience had the invaluable opportunity to delve into the historical background and techniques of Chinese calligraphy while actively participating in the creation of their own artistic masterpieces.

Our seasoned calligrapher passionately introduced the audience to the origins, development, and distinguishing characteristics of Chinese calligraphy. He offered insight into various calligraphy styles and techniques, sharing his personal experiences from over a decade of calligraphic practice. Through this, the audience was left with not only a deeper comprehension of the history of Chinese calligraphy but also an appreciation for its artistic significance and essence.

Subsequently, visitors had the opportunity to try out what they had learned under Mr. Cao in their own calligraphic works. Mr. Cao patiently guided each participant from brush-holding posture to stroke techniques, enabling them to experience the graceful dance of the brush upon the paper. With heartfelt dedication, the attendees gradually acquired proficiency in the fundamental brushwork and structure, infusing their emotions and thoughts into every stroke and character.

Workshop participants left with a tangible connection to the tradition of calligraphy: a calligraphic artwork of their own making! Each created piece encapsulated the audience's profound affection for Chinese calligraphy and their unique approaches to art and representation, from Mother’s Day well-wishes to zodiac animal interpretations.

About the Instructor:

Yuzhe Cao is a graduate student in the University of Chicago’s Master of Arts Program in the Humanities, studying pre-modern Chinese art history. He obtained his BA in Modern Chinese History at the Ohio State University. He has studied calligraphy for over 10 years.

Calligraphy History

The earliest examples of Chinese calligraphy date back to the Shang Dynasty (1600-1046 BCE), when characters were written on oracle bones for divination purposes. During the Zhou Dynasty (1046-256 BCE), calligraphy began to be used for other purposes as well, including literature and art. Calligraphers during this time developed a variety of styles, including the seal script and the clerical script. 

In the Han Dynasty (206 BCE-220 CE), calligraphy became more standardized, with the development of the regular script. This style of calligraphy was used for official documents and inscriptions, and it was characterized by its even and balanced strokes.

During the Tang Dynasty (618-907 CE), calligraphy reached its peak as an art form, with the development of the cursive script and the running script. These styles were more fluid and expressive than the regular script, and they allowed calligraphers to express their personalities and emotions more freely. In the Song Dynasty (960-1279 CE), calligraphy continued to evolve, with the development of the semi-cursive script and the elegant and refined style known as the "scholarly style." Calligraphers during this time focused on precision and subtlety, and they often used calligraphy as a way to express their philosophical and literary ideas.

During the Ming (1368-1644 CE) and Qing (1644-1912 CE) Dynasties, calligraphy continued to be an important art form, with many famous calligraphers creating works that are still admired today. In modern times, calligraphy has continued to be an important part of Chinese culture, with many people practicing it as a hobby or profession. Today, Chinese calligraphy remains an important cultural tradition in China and is admired around the world for its beauty and complexity.

"AAPI Heritage Month Cultural Festival 2024" is sponsored by Chicago Community Trust.

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