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Hanging arm technique (懸肘法, けんわんほう, kenwan hō)

One of the methods (法) of holding a calligraphy brush, where the (entire) right arm (腕) that holds the brush is suspended (懸) in the air during writing. This technique is rarely used by beginners in China, who mostly start with枕腕法 (ちんわんほう, chinwan hō, i.e. “pillow arm technique”), although in Japan kenwan hō is often preferred from the very first day of studying (it does depend on the teacher, however). Kenwan hō gives more freedom of movement than any other brush technique and it’s used mainly for writing larger characters (though it is not imperative). However, hanging arm technique is by far the most difficult to master, as it requires remarkable control over the body and mind in order to write firm and smooth strokes.

For writing Japanese kana (かな) kenwan hou is brought to its extremes, since the brush is to be held by its very end, and only gripped with three fingertips. For this and other reasons, kana is by far one of the most difficult scripts in calligraphy.

Other brush handling techniques applied in calligraphy are 枕腕法(ちんわんほう, chinwan hō, i.e. “pillow arm technique”), with the wrist resting on the palm of the left hand, 提腕法 (ていわんほう, teiwan hō, i.e. “bucket arm technique”), with the wrist resting directly on the table, and palm lifted up, forming a bucket, and the most rigid one, called 廻腕法 (かいわんほう, kaiwan hō, “round arm technique”).

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Page last modified on October 24, 2011, at 08:08 AM