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The Spirit of the Chinese Character: Gifts from the Heart [Hardcover]

Barbara Aria , Russell Eng Gon
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
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Book Description

June 15 1996
From the fluid strokes in the characters denoting "grace," "enlightenment," and "tranquility" to the complex meanings inherent in the words for "honor," "love," and "wisdom," the richness and depth of the Chinese language come alive in this compact, elegant volume of 40 beautifully rendered ideograms. Every character is accompanied by a simple chart showing its physical composition, stroke by stroke, as well as an informative text describing the myriad linguistic components from which its meaning is derived.As a result, the reader can grasp each character's significance and connection to centuries of Chinese philosophy and, ultimately, gain an understanding of the language beyond a mere familiarity with linguistic symbols. Complete with two-color printed end-papers and a charming full-color bookmark, The Spirit of the Chinese Character makes a lovely gift or keepsake volume, sure to inspire a fascination with the complexity of an incomparably beautiful and evocative language.

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Product Description

About the Author

Barbara Aria - whose previous works include a companion book, The Nature of the Chinese Character - is a native of England and now lives in New York City.

Russell Eng Gon has studied and practiced Chinese caligraphy for over 20 years. He was born and raised in New York City.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
The written character has always had spiritual significance in the culture of China. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
If you only have the time and patience to learn forty Chinese characters in your lifetime, you should learn the ones in this book. Concepts such as "spirit", "benevolence", "harmony", "loyalty", and "wisdom" characterize so much of traditional Chinese thought and culture. The authors illustrate each of these characters with beautiful brush and ink calligraphy on rice paper background. There is a short explanation accompanying each character telling why it is written just so. For example the strokes making up the character "love" show us that the word means "breathing into the heart with a gracious motion". The character "enlightenment" shows the two components "sun" and "moon" which together light the world. Students who wish to practise writing these characters can follow the useful stroke order guide next to the explanations. This is a beautiful gift for the student or scholar, or just for those who appreciate Chinese culture.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful March 28 2002
This book is wonderful. It was what kinda got me started into the research of Chinese characters and such. Until I read this book I never knew how beautiful and interesting and deep the chinese character is. The stories and describtions just captivate you. The in depth design of every single character and the story behind it is very interesting and fascinating. Though not as long as I would have hoped, I reccomend it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Elegant, poetic, and stimulating Sept. 1 1998
This fine little book reveals how dozens of chinese characters are assembled from simple graphic ideas. The illustrations engage the learner in an elegant discovery of how characters for love, grace, spirit, destiny and others are drawn. The text accompanying each character is beautifully written. I am really enjoying discovery of chinese with this lovely book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Spirit of the Chinese Character Jan. 21 2001
By A Customer
This beautifully designed book is a little gem. There is a clear breadth of understanding of Chinese culture and language. The text is eloquent and if you are learning to write Chinese characters, the stroke-by-stroke instructions make it seem easy and less intimidating.
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