Body Calligraphy

Man looking down at his bare illustrated torso. The body as a literal medium for calligraphy Man in brown tunic dipping a brush across a sheet with characters on it. Traditional Chinese calligraphy. The writer dipping his brush... This page takes the viewer from a conventional calligraphy demonstration in the staid setting of a church in Edinburgh, to a very different setting. Here the photographs are from a gallery beside Van Mieu, in the heart of Hà Nội. The occasion was a demonstration which appeared superficially similar to the Scottish one, for it involved Chinese characters, brush calligraphy and an enthusiastic audience. But those were skin deep similarities. The calligraphers in Vietnam were a group of Vietnamese students all studying their country's old system of writing - Nôm. The display offered the normal range of conventional brush calligraphy, however, there was one special addition - a body in place of paper. Man in brown tunic writing character. ...the dipper applies his brush Hand writing character. Another writer completes a character... Man in blue costume watching second man write. ...and then completes his notation - working from top to bottom, and from right to left - in traditional manner - this is not always the direction of modern calligraphy Man in blue dipping his pen. Blue has a go now. Dipping, and lightening the load on the brush, then... Man in blue touching paper with brush tip. ...placing it ready to write, angle of the brush and his arm placed so that he can continue smoothly Man in blue completing a character. Although whole sentences are traditionally written right to left, within a character strokes predominantly follow left to right. Once the sheet is completed the next move is to... Man in blue applying seal. ...add the personal seal. The wooden stamp is pressed into the round tin (in his left hand) which contains a solid red paste Wall plastered with sheets of calligraphy, girls face. Completed sheets pinned to the wall - above, there is one sheet totally covered with seal marks Two large black characters on red sheet. Traditional writing of the character for Moon with a number of seal marks having been applied Man's back covered in ink markings. A number of writers in turn have added their calligraphic contributions to his back A hand and brush writing on a leg. A brush approaching much adorned shin Here the photographs move from conventional paper, to skin as the calligraphic medium. A quick aside on the ideograms used. Above are two characters together, the left one is the common character for 'moon', to the right is a character designed to help the reader with more information; for example, a Vietnamese person would have been helped to read the character as "trăng" - quite a different and, except semantically, unrelated word to that for moon in (for instance) Mandarin which is "yuè". Man with torso covered in ink markings, arm on another man in suit's shoulders. While the new form of parchment has a gentle smile and seems well enough pleased, his companion is less satisfied Back of man being written upon. Contributing to the back. To the front of his ear, Roman script A sole held up, gripped with fingers. A sole offered as blank canvas Decorated man in shorts holding straight leg by his foot. Some marks look suspiciously decorative, rather than calligraphic Two men standing beside decorated man and laughing as another man writes on the thigh. Some of the ideas conveyed are no doubt humorous. The writer working his way towards that bare foot... A muddle of three hands, a foot, and a paintbrush. ...and in the guddle above, the sole gets illuminated Man in shorts face on holding his foot while his leg is written on. An admirable grasp - can you do that? - the sad artist is working on the leg... The sole of a foot - written upon. Here, showcasing the finished foot The sad artist photographing his writing on the man. ...and now photographs his work, this was in the year that iphones hit Vietnam Man painting neck of another man. Possibly Rod Steiger's 'Illustrated Man' Go to another site. was more artistic, but maybe this example of performance art deserves a prize for the esoteric!

Trailers... Man on pavement writing with brush. The next Picture Posting page goes to more conventional calligraphy in Hà Nội: on the street and at classes. Four large steaming chimneys at Chappelcross. The next page of the Mosaic Section is headed 'Bequest'.
Or go to the contents Go to the contents of the Mosaic Section. of the Mosaic Section.
Saturday 12th August 2023 Murphy on duty to this site

Contents for this section - Picture Posting.       Home page for this site -       Return to the top