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The Spirit of the Chinese Character : Gifts from the Heart (Hardcover)

The Spirit of the Chinese Character : Gifts from the Heart (Hardcover)
Author/Publisher: Barbara Aria, Russell Eng
Format: paperback
Emphasis: Chinese Characters
Level: Beginning - Intermediate
List Price: $14.95

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Editorial Reviews
Book Description
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.

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.

Product Details
  • Hardcover: 95 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books LLC (August 1, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN: 081180142X
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 6.9 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.7 ounces.
  • Average Customer Review: based on 6 reviews.

Spotlight Reviews

23 of 24 people found the following review helpful:

Beautifully explains the origins of Chinese characters, February 20, 2001

Reviewer: Elizabeth Yu (Northport, NY USA)

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.


10 of 11 people found the following review helpful:

Beautiful, March 28, 2002

Reviewer: Jordango "ViveLamourBoheme" (Northwest, USA)

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.


Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful:

Spirit of the Chinese Character, January 21, 2001
Reviewer: A reader
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.


11 of 12 people found the following review helpful:

good for learning to draw about 40 characters, January 1, 2000

Reviewer: sandra behm (ohio, usa)

great for learning a limited number of characters - 40. step by step illustration to create each character in the order they should be formed. also a brief description of the concept/meaning for each.


2 of 16 people found the following review helpful:

The book gave some cool ides for tatoos., April 21, 1999
Reviewer: A reader
I found the book to be a great rep. of what chinese art is like. The meaning are like words we want to hve written know you can write they with a different look to keep people guessing. I now have 4 tatoos that look and mean something cool.


11 of 12 people found the following review helpful:

Elegant, poetic, and stimulating, September 1, 1998

Reviewer: sterlingq@aol.com (San Diego, CA, USA)

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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