Wed, Jan 11, 2012 - Page 16 News List

Former mobster wields brush to create unique calligraphy
更生人揮毫 吳正財 立體書法「藝」境佳

Wu Cheng-tsai shows spring couplets on Dec. 17 last year that he was commissioned to make using the “embossed-engraved” calligraphy style.

Photo: Wang Jung-hsiang, Taipei Times
照片: 自由時報記者王榮祥

Wu Cheng-tsai — a man who turned his life around — has extensively studied the “embossed-engraved” style of calligraphy. After more than a year, he has finally completed an “embossed-engraved” work 1,000 characters long, which is considered his most representative piece. Aside from continuing to create new works and striving to make improvements, Wu was recently commissioned to write spring couplets, allowing him to interpret this alternative calligraphic style in more ways.

During the nearly 30 years he spent in prison, Wu began devoting his life to “embossed-engraved” calligraphy after a fateful encounter with the art form while in prison. At the end of 2010, he started experimenting with a 1,000-character piece, which he finally completed in five sections after more than a year’s work and countless sheets of rice paper. This was the longest amount of time he had spent on a single piece.

Wu gave several demonstrations of how he makes his art in order to illustrate his skills, showing the techniques and difficulties of the “embossed-engraved” calligraphy style, as well as an originality that computers are incapable of. Wu says he is bringing new life to calligraphy, taking traditional calligraphy in a new direction, and welcomes people to come compare and appreciate his works.







1. commission v.

請託 (qing3 tuo1)

例: The city government has commissioned the

composer to write a piece commemorating the event.


2. technique n.

技巧 (ji4 qiao3)

例: It took her many years to master the technique.


3. appreciate v.

欣賞 (xin1 shang3)

例: There are many ways to appreciate a single work of art.


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