Dishu: Ground calligraphy in China


  • Author: Francois Chastenet
  • Language: English, Traditional Chinese
  • Release date: April 2013
  • ISBN: 978-91-85639-59-5

Thousands of anonymous street calligraphers operate daily in Chinese parks and streets. The endlessly tracing texts composed of «hanzi» signs slowly disappear as water evaporates. This phenomenon, called «dishu» (earth writing or practicing ephemeral calligraphy on the ground using clear water as ink), appeared in the beginning of the 1990s in a north Beijing park and soon spread to most major Chinese cities.
Based on classic Chinese literature, poetry or aphorisms, these monumental letterings, ranging from static and regular to highly cursive styles, make the whole body break into spontaneous dance and infinite formal renewals. This street calligraphic practice corresponds to both a socializing need and an individual search for self accomplishment or improvement.

«Dishu: Ground Calligraphy in China» is the first survey on contemporary calligraphic practices in Chinese public spaces, documented during the summer of 2011 in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenyang. It takes the form of a major pho- tographic essay, which traces the roots of this hand writ- ing phenomenon and its development in Chinese society, analyses in detail the do-it-yourself writing tools specially designed for street lettering and explores its possible trans- position into other writing cultures.


More pictures

Ideas for a new book?

FAQ At Dokument Press we’re always interested in new manuscripts and new book ideas for publishing. If you got one, get in touch with us! Before you

› Read more

Production, printing and distribution

Learn more about our services in the production, printing and distribution. With a long experience of producing, printing and distributing art- and

› Read more

What we offer!

Dokument Press offers everything from lectures, city tours and workshops to organization of exhibitions, events, debates and visual communication. The

› Read more

Dokument Press – A short history of publishing

Just as Astrid Lindgren we began our path with becoming rejected. We had already been active as magazine publishers and distributors when Malcolm Jacobson

› Read more
  • Följ Dokument Press på Instagram!