Origin and History of Chinese Calligraphy

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Chinese calligraphy, as an integral part of traditional Chinese culture, has a long and profound history, carrying with it ancient traditions and deep cultural significance. Understanding the origin and history of Chinese calligraphy helps us to gain a deeper appreciation and understanding of this vast and profound art form.

Originating from Oracle Bone Script

The origin of Chinese calligraphy can be traced back to the era of Oracle Bone Script. During the late Shang Dynasty and early Western Zhou Dynasty, people used bones or turtle shells to carve characters, forming what is known as Oracle Bone Script. The emergence of Oracle Bone Script marked the embryonic stage of Chinese calligraphy, laying the foundation 基础 (jī chǔ) for the art of calligraphy and exerting a profound influence on its later development.

基础 (jī chǔ), noun, foundation


  1. Education is the foundation of success.
    Jiàoyù shì chénggōng de jīchǔ.
  2. The charity was built on a solid foundation of community support.
    Zhège císhàn jīgòu jiànlì zài shèqū zhīchí de jiānshí jīchǔ shàng.

Evolving into Seal Script

As society progressed and writing evolved, Oracle Bone Script gradually evolved into Seal Script. Seal Script is an ancient script characterized by its square, dignified strokes and is considered a classic in the art of calligraphy. During the Qin and Han Dynasties, Seal Script reached its peak 巅峰 (diān fēng), becoming the main script for official documents.

巅峰 (diān fēng), noun, peak


  1. The climbers reached the peak of the mountain just before sunrise.
    Dēngshān zhě zài rìchū qián dàodále shān de diānfēng.
  2. During the summer, tourist numbers often reach their peak in popular destinations.
    Xiàjì shí, rèmén mùdìdì de yóukè shùliàng tōngcháng dádào dǐngfēng.

Flourishing in Regular Script

In the later period of the Han Dynasty, a variant of Clerical Script, known as Regular Script, began to flourish and became mainstream. Regular Script features regular and meticulous strokes, becoming one of the representative styles of Chinese calligraphy. By the Tang Dynasty, Regular Script had reached its zenith, earning the title of "the foremost among the Eight Types of Calligraphy," and exerting a profound influence on later generations of calligraphers.

Key Sentences:

  1. Calligraphy originated from the oracle bone script era.
    Shūfǎ qǐyuán yú jiǎgǔwén shídài.
  2. Yes, more and more people began to learn calligraphy during the Tang Dynasty.
    Shì de, dào le Tángcháo yuè lái yuè duō de rén xuéxí shūfǎ.
  3. The influence of calligraphy on future generations is profound.
    Shūfǎ duì hòudài de yǐngxiǎng hěn shēnyuǎn.

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