Reading the Lotus

Reading the Lotus - Body

"A Garden of Words"

The art of calligraphy is prominently featured in Liu Fang Yuan 流芳園, or the Garden of Flowing Fragrance, at
The Huntington. Written across rocks, pavilions, and buildings, calligraphy plays an important role in how a visitor experiences this space. There is not just one type of calligraphy but five: seal (originally from ancient Chinese engravings), clerical (a quick style), regular (most common today for publications), running (“semi-cursive”), and cursive (“draft”). While each of these styles has its own unique aesthetic design, they are all created using the same three materials: ink, a brush made from animal hair, and a piece of paper or silk. To complete the work, the artist
signs the paper with a red seal. You can explore the calligraphy featured in the garden on this digital map. Additionally, you can read more about the exhibition “A Garden of Words.”

Now it’s time to create a dance inspired by the calligraphy!

Materials

  • Music (optional)

Steps

  1. Explore the calligraphy featured in the digital gallery guides of “A Garden of Words”: Part 1 and Part 2.
  2. Pick one of the works that you find particularly interesting or striking.
  3. Create a short dance inspired by the calligraphy. Think about how your body movement reflects the brushstrokes of the calligraphy.

Questions

  1. Did your dance emulate only the brushstrokes or were you also inspired by the written phrases?
  2. Did you accompany your dance with music? If so, how did you choose which song to use?