A Calligraphy Lesson in Xi’an 

Another busy day in Xi’an; we started off with a private tour of the Tang Dynasty Art Museum. I learned that bamboo is one of the most difficult things to capture in a painting and that the men of the Tang Dynasty preferred their women to have round faces, double chins and large bellies. Clearly, I was born into the wrong era.

Tang Dynasty Art Museum

Year of the Ox, that’s me!

After our tour of the artwork, we were taken to a big open room that doubles as gift shop and classroom. We sat down around a very large table and had our first Chinese calligraphy lesson. First, how to hold the calligraphy brush.


Next we practiced the different strokes that, when combined in different ways, make up the characters on the Chinese alphabet. The word “yong”, meaning “forever”, contains every stroke in one (fairly) simple character.

My attempt at “yong”

After five minutes, we have now all become experts in Chinese calligraphy, so the question was posed, “Would you like to learn the most beautiful Chinese character or the most complicated?”

Being the overly ambitious bunch that we are, the obvious choice was to attempt the most complicated character. Oddly enough, it represents biang biang noodles. I like to believe that had I been working on a larger piece of paper, my biang biang noodles would have come out perfectly. Yeah…let’s just go with that.

My attempt at biang biang…

…and how it’s actually supposed to look.

Bonus: I learned that the Chinese meaning of my name, Helen, is Ocean Logic. So, that’s something.

Off to the Terracotta Warriors!

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