Art Works by Prof. Horace Ip (葉豪盛)

 The Physics and Metaphysics of a Simple Calligraphic Stroke Horace Ip Whenever writing calligraphy, I am intrigued by the concept of “strength” or “force” that is frequently attributed to the aesthetic quality of a calligraphic stroke. In reality, the soft rice paper takes no strength (or it will tear) and the fine sheep hairs of a Chinese writing brush is clearly not the most effective tool to exert a strong force on anything. How can one combine the two forms of softness to create the perception of “strength” in a calligraphic stroke? First, let us consider the Physics. In skiing, a person can stay on the surface of water is due to his/her motion through a viscous medium, in this case, water. The same person will sink as soon as s/he becomes stationary. In calligraphy, the brush is the skier while the soft rice paper provides the soft “watery” medium. Therefore, when a calligrapher moves the writing brush and its soft sheep hairs against the surface of the soft rice paper in a correct way, the brush would “ski” over the soft paper surface. This ski-like motion of the brush squeezes the ink from the brush into the fabric of the rice paper. The better the brush “skis” on the rice paper, the more ink it can deposit into the paper. Alas, it is not the hard physical force that one applies directly “downward” (or presses) on the paper that creates the perception of strength, but by contrast, it is the light dancing and traversing movement of the brush against the surface of the paper that creates such imprints of “strength”. Let us now turn to the metaphysics of perception. How do we perceive “strength” on a stroke painted on soft paper? When the soft tissue-like paper absorbs a large amount of ink within a small area, the ink-soaked area starts to crease which gives a viewer the perception that the stroke is actually “engraved” into the fabric of the paper, in a way similar to the appearance of the calligraphy that has been engraved onto the surface of a stone tablet.  The art of using two physically soft media to create the metaphysical perception of engravings is just one of the essences of Chinese calligraphy.   簡單的運筆　不簡單的道理與哲理 葉豪盛 剛健有力的運筆，是書法的美感來源。每次我習字時，總為此深感疑惑，有所思索。按道理說，書法所用的米紙一撕就破，一點也不能承受重力；而毛筆桿上的羊毛精緻纖細，更不是在任何物件上使力的好工具。人們是怎樣結合兩種柔軟的物料，創造出筆力遒勁的書法呢？ 我們先參考一個物理學的例子。在滑浪時，人能在水面上停留，是因為他在黏性物質上（即水）的活動所致；一旦他停下所有動作，人便會沉下去。同樣地，習字時，毛筆就像滑浪者，而紙張就像水一般的細滑物質，當書法家揮筆疾書，以正確的方法將柔軟的羊毛壓到細軟的紙張上，毛筆就會在紙上「滑浪」而行。這種「滑浪」般的筆觸便會把毛筆飽含的墨汁擠進紙張的纖維裡；毛筆在紙上滑行得越流利，紙張便會吸收越多的墨汁。換言之，「筆力遒勁」的效果，不是由於人直接在紙張上用力的緣故，而是毛筆在紙上輕巧秀潤、跌宕自如的動態所造成的。 再從抽象的層面看「筆力遒勁」的概念。我們怎樣從柔軟的紙張上感覺到筆觸的力度呢？當一塊紙巾似的紙張的一小部分吸入大量的墨汁，這部分便會出現縐痕，給觀眾的觀感，就好像這一筆已「烙印」在紙張的纖維裡，看上去跟書法鐫刻在石碑上的情況差不多。 中國書法藝術博大深邃，而運用兩種柔軟的物料，創造予人鐫刻的觀感，只是書法藝術的精髓之一。 「道無窮」