Besides Tai Chi, group dancing and games of Mahjong, one of the most highly practiced and fascinating activities practiced by (mostly) the elderly in the capital’s parks is, without question, water calligraphy. The practice is carried out by using a large brush with a wet sponge on the end rather than bristles, which is then moved delicately to render Chinese calligraphic characters directly on the ground, the street, the sidewalk or upon the tiled walkways. Writing with water requires skill and concentration but, as practitioners are quick to point out, it is also a very relaxing pastime. However, it also embodies a rather poetic and profound significance, representing the ephemeral nature of beauty itself. In fact, regardless of how elegant and well-executed these characters may be, they can only be admired for a few minutes - the mere time it takes for the water to evaporate or absorb into the stone and their potential allure vanishes as well. It is not at all unusual to find these “street artists” at work throughout the city, especially during the summer months - Jingshan Park is one of the best places to admire their work. This beautiful oasis was conceived as an Imperial garden and now it is among one of the city’s numerous lovely public parks. Jingshan is situated near the moat of the Forbidden City. The 50-metre-high hill in the park, a remarkable panoramic overlook, was actually created with the debris from the digging of the canals in and around the Imperial City.
This exhibition is part of the celebration of the one-hundred year anniversary of the founding of Tsinghua University, one of China’s most prestigious.