Pens (笔), ink (墨), paper (纸), and inkstones (砚) are the four treasures of a Chinese scholar, and have been for over 1,400 years. The Intermediate Conversational Chinese class got to try out these treasures during a Chinese calligraphy lesson on Saturday, July 10th.
The class, taught by Mrs. Fontaine, wrote their Chinese names and some phrases with Chinese brushes and ink on pieces of paper. Chinese ink, which comes in the form of a stick, must be dipped in water. Then, the end that was dipped is rubbed on an ink stone in order to obtain the ink.
“It was hard to make sure there was the right amount of water and ink,” Beatrix Picotte said. “I’ve only written with a calligraphy brush once before this, so it was basically a new experience for me. I enjoyed dipping my brush and writing my name in smooth ink, but it was a little hard for me to learn holding the brush pen because it has to be held differently than a regular pencil or pen. My other classmates also really enjoyed the activity. “
Ellie Shaw was also enthusiastic. “I thought it was really satisfying when the character turned out nicely because it’s harder than it seems to use the paintbrushes,” she said. “Participating in something that I know has to be more than one-thousand years in the making is special, because it isn’t something that most people get the chance to do.”