Ancient words, modern art

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The Sutra on the Lotus of the Sublime Dharma from the 13th or 14th century is part of the Out of Character show in San Francisco. Provided to China Daily

In China, the idea that one’s character can be judged by the quality of his or her writing is more than an adage. Sloppy handwriting has felled many a hopeful candidate for the country’s notoriously difficult official examinations.

A new exhibition at San Francisco’s Asian Art Museum puts the spotlight on a form long associated with Chinese elites, who for thousands of years have valued both poetry and the ink strokes in which it’s rendered. Through Jan 13, Out of Character: Decoding Chinese Calligraphy is showcasing 40 calligraphic works borrowed from Yahoo Inc co-founder Jerry Yang and three pieces by American abstract-expressionist painters Brice Marden, Franz Kline

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