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“Art may involve wisdom, etiquette,
justice, and love:

I cannot say accurately, but I feel that art is educating me and makes me like a devout believer and a humble child. Swimming in art, I experience loftiness and a sense of subtlety, which helps me to understand myself. Unlike a camel, which bears many burdens, unlike a lion who does not plan, I am like a baby who grows naturally and powerfully in an orderly, yet disorderly manner.”

Dawo’s works can be regarded as an example of how traditional calligraphy metamorphoses to contemporary art. His works, inspired by calligraphy, heading for modern writing art, reaching the essence of nature, can be an inspirational source for us to conceive another modernity of Art.
His brush strokes go through the mirror of tradition to reflect the contemporary world and boundless vitality. He creates a kind of true freedom and growth of life. With such a dance of pen and ink between heaven and earth, he has taken the Chines ink XIAN (线) the extreme and reaches the depth and exaltation of life.



Zhang Dawo was born in Chengu Shanxi province, not far from Beijing in 1942. Dawo received systematic calligraphy training in his profoundly cultural family during his early years. His grandfather was one of the Beijing University’s key staff members, head of the Chinese Literature Department under Cai Yuan-Pei, the principal. Another grandfather was the first president of the National Palace Museum Beijing and a famous archeologist. Dawo’s father, Zhang Wanli, was a linguist, translator and calligrapher.



Barass, GS (Ed.) 2002.The Art of Calligraphy in Modern China. Chapt VIII The Avant-Garde, Zhang Dawo 1943- ‘Making the Brush Fly’. The British Museum Press. 287 pp.

Zhang, D. (Ed.) 2004 Dawo Miaomo – Calligraphic Art: Re-Creating the Pleasure, Insecurity and Excitement Encountered in Dreams. Devil Art Studio. 155pp.


China Cultural Exchange, 1989, International Calligraphy and Art competition, 2nd prize
Tasart, 1997, Australia
Qantas 1999 Artsbridge
Taiwan Calligraphy Society, 2000. Best thesis on ‘The Trend of Contemporary Chinese Calligraphy’
Kedumba Art Awards 2003


British Museum, London, UK
The Museum and Art Galleries of the northern Territory, Australia
Craft Council of the Northern Territory, Australia
Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Lunceston, Australia
City of Clarence, City Council Collection, Hobart
German Consulate, Beijing
Northern Territory Government Collection, Darwin
Huairong Provincial Government, China
The Calligraphy Society of Malaysia
The Calligraphy Society of Taiwan
Stamp Collection Society of China, Shang-Dong Branch
University of Nankai, Tienjing, China