SHANGHAI (AFP).- Calligraphy by Japanese porn star Sola Aoi has sparked a culture war in China, where she has a huge fan base, with purists dismissing the work as "unskilled" after it was reportedly auctioned for $95,000.
Eight Chinese characters the actress wrote with brush and ink at a theme park in the eastern city of Ningbo were sold earlier this month, the Liberation Daily newspaper said Wednesday, without identifying the auction house or buyer.
"The style of calligraphy is childish, unskilled," said the newspaper, which is backed by Shanghai's Communist Party branch.
Sola Aoi, 29, is best known for her work in adult movies, with some of her less risque titles including Virgin Sky and Cosmic Girl. Despite China's official censorship of films, pornography is widely available on pirate DVDs.
She has recently moved into mainstream films, appearing in one 2010 movie as a zombie-killing stripper, and her Chinese blog has nearly 14 million followers.
Her fans have jumped to defend her honour.
"'Teacher Aoi' excels in both performing skills and moral integrity, this price is certainly worth it," Duoyan Sanwei said in a microblog posting.
But many dismissed the auction as a marketing ploy by the theme park that sponsored her trip in April. A spokeswoman for the park declined to comment.
Dressed demurely in a pink and white dress, the 1m 55cm (five-foot, two-inch) tall actress was surrounded by mainly male fans on her visit, when she wrote: "Fun Phoenix Mountain Theme Park".
"This matter is a commercial activity," said the deputy head of the Shanghai Youth Calligraphers Association, Tang Jihui.
"Her calligraphy has nothing to do with art and the people buying and selling it don't care about whether or not what she writes is art," he was quoted by the Liberation Daily as saying.
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