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Yang (陽, Chinese: yáng)

A symbolic force or element from ancient Chinese philosophy, the counterpart to Yin (陰, Chinese: yīn, i.e. “shadow”). Yang is a reference to the male world, whereas Yin, the female world. Yang and Yin are interconnected yet independent, and exist only with relation to each other. The Chinese character for Yang is “sun” (陽), as this force is associated with the active, positive and bright side of the universe. In calligraphy there are many references to Yang and Yin. Cold, hardened ink (Yin) and supple, ready-made, fresh ink for writing (Yang), seals in intaglio (白印, はくいん, hakuin) with a heavy red background (Yin), and those in relief (朱印, しゅいん, shuin) with a white background and red characters (Yang), white paper (Yang) and black ink (Yin), heavy thick strokes (Yin) and light agile lines (Yang), etc. are all examples of the representation of Yin and Yang in calligraphy. Together, the forces of Yin and Yang bring balance and harmony. None of them is absolute and both need to coexist for the world to be complete. Calligraphy is no exception. Without the Yin element it would be too immature, too shallow and too superficial, yet without Yang, it would be too heavy, too technical and without finesse.

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Page last modified on November 15, 2011, at 06:37 AM