During the Lunar New Year celebrations, one of the traditional Vietnamese customs is to have an artist write nice words in calligraphy at Van Mieu – Quoc Tu Giam with the hope of bringing good luck in the coming new year. The Annual Spring Calligraphy Festival at Van Mieu – Quoc tu Giam provides visitors this opportunity. The atmosphere of the spring calligraphy festival was warm and inviting. Calligraphy works in Han-Nôm script and Vietnamese script were displayed surrounding Van Lake. Calligraphy participants passed a difficult examination organized by The Centre for Scientific and Cultural Activities Van Mieu-Quoc Tu Giam and the liaison committee of the department of the HaNoi Calligraphy Club. Thirty-four best calligraphic works written in Vietnamese and Han-Nom scripts were selected to display at the exhibition.
The calligraphers spend a long time practicing because calligraphy has complex regulations. Vietnamese and Han-Nom scripts calligraphy use brushes, ink and paper in writing in order to bring the art to the pinnacle of deep philosophy. Each character and handwriting is chosen carefully and is meaningful. In addition to showing beautiful handwriting, the content of each calligraphic work also displays the knowledge and spirit of calligraphers. The theme “Talent and Righteousness” at the Spring Calligraphy Festival 2018 was selected by the organizers. Each of the calligraphic works followed this theme but was different in their expressions.
The theme “Talent and Righteousness” has a deep meaning in the protection and construction of a nation today. If a nation wants to develop and flourish, it must attract and reward talents. Attracting and recruiting talented people is an important policy and absorbed deeply into Vietnamese philosophy. “Virtuous and talented men are the essence of the State’s vitality. If this vitality is strong, the State will be powerful and prosperous. If it is not, the State will weaken and be reduced to a low standing. Therefore, clear – sighted monarchs always attach importance to educating talent and selecting Confucian scholars for the Mandarinate, and regard the fostering of the State’s primordial vitality as an urgent task” (excerpted from the text on the stele for the examination held in 1442).
At the Spring Calligraphy Festival 2018, there were 34 calligraphic works displayed using different excerpts from the text on the stele for the examination held in 1442. These works included 22 Han-Nom script calligraphic works and 12 Vietnamese script calligraphic works written by 30 calligraphers of all ages.
Han-Nom script and Vietnamese script calligraphic works were written in Khai characters. These characters are written in a square frame and in good order, which compliments the theme “Talent and Righteousness”. Mrs. Hoang Anh Diep received the first place award for her Han – Nom script calligraphic works.
(Photo: First Place award: The Han – Nom script calligraphic works by calligrapher Mrs Hoang Anh Diep)
A Han script calligraphic work written in Seal characters received the third place award. This work was presented in parallel sentences, excerpted from the text on the stele for the examination held in 1442: “Restoring huge career / Opening human culture”. The writer’s handwriting was in beautiful order and showed the respect and preservation of a writer to national education.
(Photo: Third Place award: “Restoring huge career / Opening human culture”, the Han – Nom script calligraphic work)
(Photo: Second Place award: “The essence”, the Vietnamese script calligraphic work by calligrapher Mr. Ngoc Dinh)
(Photo: Third Place award: Vietnamese script calligraphic work by calligrapher Mr. Tran Vo Hiep)
Twelve Vietnamese script calligraphic works displayed at the exhibition showed the creativity of the calligraphers, some of whom were so young. The colour of these works are diverse; warm like spring. The works are expressed in many different styles and mediums. The handwriting shows off the skill of the calligrapher.
Some calligraphers works displayed at the exhibition were paintings. The calligraphers wrote painted characters. This kind of handwriting is considered the pinnacle of calligraphy.
Twelve Vietnamese script calligraphic works indicate Vietnamese script calligraphy has developed strongly. Hopefully the Spring Calligraphy Festival will continue to promote Vietnamese script calligraphy for future generations.
(Photo: “Talent and Righteousness”, The Vietnamese script calligraphic work which received the first place award, calligrapher Mr. Tran van Son)