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Eight Principles of Yong


The Eight Principles of Yong (永字八法 Pinyin: Yǒngz Bā Fǎ) explains how to write the eight strokess common in Chinese characters found all in the one character of yong (meaning "permanence"). It is believe that the frequent practise of these principles as a beginner calligrapher could ensure the beauty in one's writing.

The Eight Principles are influenced by the earlier Seven Powers by Lady Wei Shuo. Publications on the Principles include:

The number of the strokes.
Where there are multiple numbers in an area, the strokes intercept brieftly and continue from the previous number to the next.

The Principle's names and representations are:

  1. C (側), or "Sideway"
    • Also known as Diǎn (點), or "Dot"
    • Li's name: Gui Sh (怪石), or "The Strange Stone"
    • Top-left to bottom-right
  2. L (勒), or "Bridle"
    • Also known as Hng (橫), or "Horizontal"
    • Li's name: Y n (玉案), or "The Jade Table"
    • A straight horizontal line
  3. (弩 or努), or "Crossbow"
    • Li's name: Tiězh (鐵柱), or "Iron Pillar"
    • Also known as Tiěchǔ (鐵杵), or "Iron Staff"
    • A straight vertical line
  4. (剔), or "Picking off"
    • Also known as L (趯), or "Leaping"
    • Li's name: Xiāzhuǎ (蟹爪), or "The Pincer of Crab"
    • A hook to the left
  5. C (策), or "Horsewhip"
    • Also known as Tiāo (挑), or "Lifting off"
    • Li's name: Hǔy (虎牙), or "The Tooth of Lion"
    • A tapering horizontal line thinning toward upper right
  6. Lu (掠), or "Passing lightly"
    • Also known as Piě (撇), or "Slant"
    • Li's name: Xījiǎo (犀角), or "The Horn of Rhinoceros"
    • A long slightly curvy tapering line thinning toward lower left
  7. Zhu (啄), or "Pecking"
    • Also known as Duǎn Piě (短撇), or "Short slant"
    • Li's name: Niǎo Zhu (鳥啄), or "Bird Pecking"
    • A short tapering line thinning toward lower left
  8. Zh (磔), or "Dismemberment"
    • Also known as N (捺), or "Pressing forcefully", and (波), or "Wave"
    • Li's name: Jīndāo (金刀), or "Golden Dao"
    • Thickening line toward lower right, where it is "as sharp as a knife" (hence the name " Dismemberment")

In addition to these eight common strokes, there are at least two dozen modified or completely unrelated strokes.

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