Best Traditional Calligraphy Intro? || Foundations of Calligraphy Review & Flip-through

T11his capacity to pass on ideas to us throughout generations, offer guidelines to express, communicate concepts across the abyss of room as well as time has made it feasible to make great strides in our understanding of the universe, good understanding as well as self-understanding.

To understand how writing began, we must go to ancient Sumer, where writing first began to be used extensively. Take a look around. What do you see? Yes, you see merchants and potters.

You see the gardens and streets. These temples play a big role in why writing began.

Not hundreds of people or thousands of people, but together tens of thousands. And as cities grew, so did the temples for the gods.

These massive, vast temple complexes they did not serve only as tabernacles.

Do you see those men bringing jugs full of grain here? These temples also served as huge warehouses.

Look next to the men who carry the grain. Do you see a man watching them?

Keep in mind that whenever they bring a container of grain, he will make a tiny mark on his clay table.

With such an economy, with lots of supplies, moving to and from the temple every day, they needed to keep records somehow. That table will be saved later, so that the priests may know exactly what they have at hand in their giant temple storehouse.

He attracted a tiny photo of a grain stalk alongside his records, so it is clear that his data refer to grain. For generations, this good little drawing of grain has actually been streamlined. A lot more abstract. Scribes were searching for faster and simpler ways to tape-record products, they did not laboriously attract every sub-item offered the temple, yet rather they involved an equally agreed set of even more symbolic representations for items streaming right into holy areas. As well as you can see exactly how somebody could happen, that these symbols need not only stand for the concept of something, however additionally words itself.

Which’s precisely what happened.

The symbol for the cow was understood not only as a representative of the animal, but also as a word cow. But still, with a thousand nouns, you can’t do much. And right here comes a happy etymological coincidence. Do you see individuals at the temple talking with each other?

Both of these points are important because when many of your words are monosyllabic, it is easy not to think of a symbol as a word, but as a sound for that word. Stop thinking of a symbol indicating a word and begin to think about the general meaning of its sound, which can indicate more specific things.

Currently you start to assume of images as noises as well as combining sounds together permits you to develop different words.

And also when you integrate that with that in Sumerian a number of terms were based on basic words, for example, a sickle plus grain could indicate a harvest, so there is a quantum of what you can do with principles and audios, which stand for thousands of images. Yet we’re refrained from doing yet. Due to the fact that how the scribes wrote has altered the method we compose in Western nations today. Do you remember just how our buddy in the temple includes grain?

See how he writes from top to bottom, just as you would write a list. And if you accidentally rest your hand while writing from top to bottom, you can easily delete the entire column you just typed.

Yet this threat is minimized if you begin creating from left to right. But enough individuals in the holy place didn’t like the advancement. It was much easier for scribes, but other literate individuals, that had to review it picked up from top to bottom, so they really did not like this sidewards composing. What did the scribes do? They merely revolved all the characters 90 levels to make sure that one might transform the table and also review it from top to base customarily.

Soon people review personalities created sidewards from entrusted to right. However because they were upside-down, they were a lot more abstract now. A lot more different from the things and pictures they used to stand for. This creating system was then taken on by the neighboring Akkad and also Elamites, who generalised it much more. Elements or little characters have actually likewise been added to identify which component of the speech was which, to avoid obscurity.

As well as currently you have a genuine creating system.

Which means instead of a handful of nouns to be written to stock lists here we have a writing system that can give us abstract and lyrical things like the Epic of Gilgamesh or Enum elish. Funny thing about clay: When a place burns down and all your records are on clay, instead of being destroyed, they harden and remain.

Let’s praise scribes like this and the wonderful city of Sumer for what they gave us. Writing.

From what we have read, which is far from enough for a layman’s opinion, I believe that both groups have inherited the basic concept from Sumer. Let us know in the comments if you liked this attempt and you are interested in the history of ideas as well as the history of companies and people.


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Written by an amazing calligrapher and a great teacher, Foundations of Calligraphy by Sheila Waters provides not just an introduction in the tools and materials for traditional calligraphy, but also feels like you have an experienced teacher sitting beside you guiding you through the tricky aspects, like how to spot your own errors and how to lay out a good page of calligraphy. In this video: a flip-through along with a spotlight on why I think this is the best book for beginners to traditional calligraphy.

Foundations of Calligraphy by Sheila Waters
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Calligraphity (UK, ships worldwide for modest shipping costs):

Sheila Waters’ essay on calligraphic depression:

Excerpt from the book on design & layout [PDF]:

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