In the history of the Chinese written language, few individuals have had as deep or lasting impact as Li Si. While it is unknown exactly when he was born, Li Si would, at a remarkably young age, become a figure central to the chaotic era that saw the first unification of China. Receiving instruction from the great Confucian philosopher Xun Zi (荀子/Hsun Tsu), Li Si moved to the state of Qin and was accepted as a counsellor of King Zheng (glossary: Qin Shi Huang) who would go on to conquer the other Chinese states and become the first Emperor.
When dealing with the origins of Chinese Clligraphy, it is often difficult to find existent examples of ancient calligraphy that can be verifiably attributed to the correct artist. Such is the case with Zhang Zhi. Most of what we know about him comes in the form of much later criticism of his works. In fact, no-one has yet been able to determine exactly when he was born. The date of his death in 192 CE, however, places him in the waning years of the Han Dynasty. Moreover, historians are relatively certain that he was born in Yuanquan County, Dunhuang Province (present-day Jiuquan, Guansu Province) in the northwest of China.