What Is Chinese Calligraphy?

Chinese calligraphy, also known as shufa, is a refined and graceful handwriting art that has a long and storied history in China. Because these two forms of art use the same methods and materials, ancient Chinese civilization believed there was a connection between calligraphy and painting. Calligraphers, on the other hand, were regarded as highly respected and cultured scholars, whereas ancient Chinese painters were considered nothing more than simple artisans. People began to regard calligraphers and painters as comparable professions in terms of status starting in the fifth century anno domini (AD). Chinese calligraphy was introduced to Japan in the seventh century and used as a method of copying Buddhist texts.

The application of aesthetic principles, fancy writing, and skilled penmanship to words and even entire documents is called calligraphy. It is comparable to inscription, though inscription only refers to script written on decomposable materials such as parchment and papyrus. In Asian countries such as China, calligraphers use a vertically held pointed brush; in Western and Islamic countries, calligraphers use a quill, reed, or calligraphy pen held slightly inclined. Egyptian papyri from the fifth dynasty are thought to be the earliest calligraphic writing.

Chinese script is thought to have existed since the latter half of the second millennium BC, according to inscriptions. The script’s history shows how it evolved from pictographs, which are representations of objects, to abstract characters. The oldest script in calligraphy is the archaic or seal script, also known as juanshu in Chinese. It was uniform in thickness, linear, and inscribed clearly. Since the Han dynasty, which ruled from 202 BC to 220 AD, the Chinese have used a simplified version of juanshu known as lishu, which is the foundation for modern Chinese calligraphy.

Until the fourth century AD, lishu was the most popular calligraphy style in China. Kaishu, xingshu, and caoshu are three modern Chinese calligraphy styles that emerged from lishu. Kaishu, which means “regular script,” is the standard for printed characters. A semi-flowing form of kaishu is xingshu, or “running script.” The caoshu style, which literally translates to “grass script,” is a short and highly expressive script.

The two golden ages of Chinese calligraphy are the Tang dynasty, which lasted from 618 to 906, and the Song dynasty, which lasted from 960 to 1279. Although lishu flourished during the Han dynasty, the two golden ages of Chinese calligraphy are the Tang dynasty, which lasted from 618 to 906, and the Song dynasty, which lasted from 960 to 1279. Emperor Ming Huang, a famous calligrapher, ruled the Tang dynasty and promoted Chinese calligraphy demonstrating his interest in the visual art to his people. Meanwhile, during the Song dynasty, calligraphy was regarded as a fancy lettering version of painting. The interdependence of the two forms of art was established as a result of this.