Calligraphy in Korean Culture
Still at the Korea House, we were lucky to meet Mr. W. J. Kang, a friendly artist who said that there were still about 30 artists like him in Korea who practiced "pictorial calligraphy."
In pictorial calligraphy, the artist will write/draw your name using various designs (e.g. birds, trees). The letters of your name, in effect, are made up of various drawings. At first glance, you may not see the letters right away but when you take a closer look, you are sure to notice. While writing/drawing your name, Mr. Kang will be explaining what each drawing symbolizes.
Here's what he said about the name ANGEL. I decided to give him the short version as there were other people who wanted their names made. I also missed out on the details for the letter "G" or I think, Mr. Kang skipped it:
A: There is a big bird for good luck and happiness in the family. The big tree symbolizes prosperity in business, great success and lots of children. The sun means that it is always a sunny day. The 4 birds on the tree represent the happy husband and wife and 2 kids, surrounded by good friends and neighbors.
N: The butterfly symbolizes all good things. The bamboo stands for smooth progress. There are no blocks on the straight path.
E: There is a turtle for long life. The fish represents money, prosperity, riches. The flowers stand for happiness.
L: The boat is for safe sailing. There are representations of the kids in the boat and Mr. Kang said - if you have one more kid, you draw the kid yourself. (I suppose, I wouldn't want to mess up his drawing...)
Anyway, we will try to post a picture of the actual pictorial calligraphy here soon so do revisit this page after awhile.
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