Calligraphy is cultural passion of Italian Sinologist

By Ma Zhenhuan in Hangzhou | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2020-05-18 20:18
Pietro De Laurentis(right), has long studied Chinese calligraphy. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

For Pietro De Laurentis, an Italian Sinologist who has been dedicated to Chinese studies for two decades, what fascinated him most about Hangzhou, capital of East China's Zhejiang province, is not scenic West Lake or the delicious local cuisine, but rather the Chinese calligraphy.

Anyone who has studied Mandarin, no matter how long, knows that Chinese characters play a dominant role in the language. Each Chinese character has its own meaning and history.

"Hangzhou is unique, because it gave me enlightenment on Chinese calligraphy," De Laurentis said.

De Laurentis is a researcher with years of experience studying modern Chinese, ancient Chinese and Chinese calligraphy in China. His first visit to China dates back to 1998 and since then, he has visited the country numerous times.

Majoring in Chinese, De Laurentis's interest in Chinese calligraphy sprouted at an Italian university in 1999, which helped him make some Chinese friends from Shanghai residing in Italy, including a calligraphy teacher.

In an article recollecting that time, De Laurentis pointed out that he believes that culture is not just knowledge he learned in textbooks. "When I was studying Chinese at the university, I found there's an oasis of culture ahead of me," he wrote.

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