What defines a masterwork of calligraphy? Out of Character, a collaborative effort from leading Chinese and U.S. scholars, tries to answer this question by focusing on fifteen calligraphic masterpieces. Supporting these masterworks are an additional twenty-five works of the highest quality.
Calligraphy has been admired as the ultimate art form by China's educated elite for more than 2,000 years. Over that time a complex set of rules and conventions has evolved that impacts every aspect of the calligrapher's practice. Within the constraints of their artistic tradition, creativity and self-expression have remained of primary importance to the Chinese calligrapher. With mind and hand in accord, Chinese calligraphers express the strength of their character in the characters they write. Out of Character provides the context and the critical tools viewers need to understand why this art form has been so admired in the Chinese tradition.