A History of Chinese Calligraphy

April 8, 2014

Since I covered the history of western calligraphy, I thought I would go to the other end of the world and cover the history of Chinese calligraphy. Chinese calligraphy, or shufa, has a long history. It began to take shape in around the 2nd or 4th centuries. Like I said before, Chinese calligraphy is very important to its culture. It is not just a communication form but an abstract art form as well. The Chinese take a lot of pride in their character writing. 
 
 
Chinese calligraphy was first written on tortoise shells and animal bones. It involves the rules of symmetry, balance, depth, rhythm and structure. Chinese calligraphy changed from each dynasty to the next, much like western calligraphy developed different forms of lettering. These days you'll notice that Chinese characters are written either in traditional form or simplified form. The traditional, obviously, was the first and involves several more steps and strokes for each character. The simplified form is the derivative of the traditional form and is used much more often now. Sooner or later, the traditional form will disappear, but many prefer it because of it's historical and traditional connection. 
 
 
photo source: "Quatrain on Spring's Radiance" | The Metropolitan Museum of Art
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