“Determining the theme at the test site, creating the piece at the site, and counting the votes on the spot – this is the first time this is happening at the Shanghai Youth Exhibition of Calligraphy and Seal Engraving,” says Ding Shenyang, chairman of the Shanghai Calligraphers Association.
The words “for the first time”, uttered by him, mean that at the 28th Shanghai Youth Exhibition of Calligraphy and Seal Engraving, which took place recently, the rules for defining the theme and creating works were really adopted for the first time in the exhibition itself. This step allowed the competition to further exclude the possibility of passing the exam for another person, to make the calligraphy competition fairer and to see the true level of skill of the participants.
At the 28th Shanghai Youth Exhibition of Calligraphy and Seal Engraving, 1,643 works of calligraphy and seal engraving (including 1606 works of calligraphy and 37 works of making seals), 953 works of the junior group and 690 works of the middle group were presented. After preliminary evaluation and re-evaluation of works: 407 works of calligraphy and 37 works of making seals – only 444 works reached the final. 45 young authors reached the final stage of the test.
On the afternoon of July 24, the 28th test of calligraphy exhibits and stamp making took place at the Shanghai Youth Exhibition. It operated from 13:30 to 15:30 and lasted two hours. The participants were able to use calligraphic dictionaries, but they were not allowed to use mobile phones. Each calligrapher had to re-create the work he had presented in advance, and then create another new work with the given content. Upon completion of the work, it was necessary to write your name and surname in the upper right corner on the back of the work, after which you could leave the test site. The style of creative assignment and rewriting of the submitted work should be uniform. The author of the stamps had to choose a free side on the submitted seal and repeat the work already done, as well as create a new seal on one of the sides with the content specified in the competition and make a side inscription.
Five members of the jury, including Ding Shenyang from the Shanghai Calligrapher Association, evaluated the works at the test site. Each member of the jury evaluated the works of 45 authors (a total of three works: the first is a work submitted in advance, the second is a rewritten work, and the third is written on the spot). As a result, after testing, out of 45 works on calligraphy and seal carving, candidates were selected for six first prizes (three from the junior group and three from the middle group, 16 second-level prizes (eight from the junior group, eight from the middle group) and 18 third-level awards ( nine from the junior group and nine from the middle group).
According to reports, the Shanghai Calligraphers Association has been conducting face-to-face testing for many years, previously only checking the authenticity of works. This time, for the first time, the grade for the face-to-face test and the grade for the submitted work are taken into account for the award. During the test, in addition to re-writing the submitted work, young authors must also create a work on a given topic. The jury members select the works – candidates for the prizes of the first, second and third categories after combining the results in two categories. Thus, the entire judicial work is more impartial, and the corresponding awards are of a higher level.
The newly added piece on creating a work on a given topic further tests the comprehensive abilities of the young author. It is rather difficult to create a work within a limited time only through the use of vocabulary and mobilization of their experience, which reflects the requirements of the Shanghai Calligraphy Association for the comprehensive training of young authors and the direction of teaching calligraphy.
“In all competitions and tests, honesty is the most basic requirement, and such self-improvement, which occurs during the face-to-face test, allows the young author to be calm about different situations,” said Ding Shenyang. According to the jury, “if you write hieroglyphs beautifully from an early age, in the future you will become a worthy representative of the Celestial Empire.” Young people studying calligraphy not only master the technique itself, but also form the correct character, and they are not afraid of difficulties. (Li Junna)