Claw Script

Claw Script
by Holly Lee


In the Chinese philosophical anthology Huainazi (139 B.C.), it says that "in ancient times, when Cang Jie invented writing, Heaven rained down millet and ghosts wailed at night". People felt blessed and cursed at the same time, seeing that writing had a certain power over them. China's first writing system - known as the Oracle Bone Inscriptions, was made up of characters inscribed on turtle shells and animal bones. First discovered and unearthed in the late 19th Century, the inscriptions consist primarily of records made during divinations, sacrificial hunting, wars or natural disasters.

Chinese writing has continued to evolve. The characters' unique, formal beauty developed into a highly distilled art form - Chinese calligraphy. It is through a revision of the origin of Chinese writing that I've come to fully aware of the history, beauty and the cultural significance of calligraphy.

This mini series of new work did not happen by chance. When I saw the scratches on the floor, many of them made by Suki, my cat, they conveyed a familiar and strong feeling, almost with aesthetic qualities parallel to the Bone Script. In a way, Suki expresses his feeling of anxiety, curiosity and perhaps even joy and pain through these incredible markings. The Claw Script series, as I entitled this work, serves as my playful response and tribute to the archaic, sophisticated and spellbinding Oracle Bone Script.


Click to view the series