Who would have thought some of the best Arabic calligraphers were from China, Turkey and Pakistan? Mohammad Yousuf, a young Chinese calligrapher also known as Chen Kun, studied the Holy Qur’an in the mosque in his childhood and is today one of the well-known Chinese calligraphers.
He follows in the footsteps of Haji Noor Deen Mi Guangjiang, a Chinese calligrapher extraordinaire who has been producing Chinese-Arabic calligraphic art for over a decade and was the first Chinese national to be conferred the Certificate of Arabic Calligraphy in Egypt in 1997.
In Chinese mosques Arabic calligraphy has a long history and is characterized by its beauty and charm. The calligraphy, an important component of Islamic culture, occupies a special place in the history of world culture.
Chen Kun is currently a teacher at the Institute of Lanzhou of Islamic Sciences, a member of the Association of Chinwoking ese Calligraphers and secretary of the Chinese Calligraphers Association in Gansu Province.
Chen Kun received two awards in international competitions in calligraphy held in Pakistan and Turkey in 1993 and 1994 respectively. When he set up an exhibition of his work on the art of calligraphy in Malaysia in 2001, Malaysia's then-Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad was among those who visited the exhibition and expressed his admiration.
Nowadays, one can find Chen Kun's calligraphy in the halls of mosques in northwest China and in Egypt, Turkey, Iran and Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and Malaysia, among others.
The spread of Arabic calligraphy in the world coincided with the spread of the Arabic language. China has been known for producing calligraphy for more than a thousand years. It involves mixing and integrating Arabic calligraphy with traditional Chinese calligraphy and traditional Chinese paintings.
The art of Arabic calligraphy has become an integral part of everyday life and religious life of Muslim Chinese people. There are also quite a few Muslim scholars and imams of Chinese calligraphy well versed in that field.
The Chinese calligraphers Atoarza not only perfected the art of calligraphy, but also excelled in its evolution. Their brand of art is becoming popular in the architecture of mosques in northwest China.
Chen Kun began his study of Arabic calligraphy in the 1980s. His influences included calligraphers Sheikh Mohammed Saad Haddad (Egypt) and Hashim Muhammad Al-Baghdadi.
He organized exhibitions of Arabic calligraphy in China and abroad, and received several awards.
In his book “Arabic Calligraphy” issued by Lanzhou University in May 2006, he reviews the history of the development of Arabic calligraphy, explains the characteristics and training methods to write Arabic letters and analyzes hundreds of business houses that have become famous in the field.
This book contains the scientific theories of Arabic calligraphy, summarizing the experiences of Chen Kun based on his research, training and practice of Arabic calligraphy.
This year, Chen Kun released his second calligraphy book published by the China Association for Literature and the Arts.
The common quality and dominant feature of the work of Chen Kun is the harmony between black and white and between letters and characters that are dense and scattered between the outline and narrow lines.
There is a tool book that Chen Kun himself made out of straw that embodies his strength in Arabic calligraphy.
Chen Kun is well versed in different forms of Arabic calligraphy, including the letters’ geometrical and architectural form and shape. One of his bold architectural panels has drawn praise from Mahathir. He said the word "Islam" in Arabic means a religion of peace and harmony and obedience, and the Islamic religion calls for world peace and stability of society.
He added this idea is reflected in the art of Arabic calligraphy, adding Chen Kun embodies this concept extremely well in his work.