History of Chinese Calligraphy – The Origins of Calligraphy in Ancient China: The Unification of China and a Common Script in Qin Dynasty (秦朝/Qin Chao, Ch’in ch’ao)


The Qin Dynasty (秦朝/Qin Chao, Ch’in Ch’ao)

In 221 BCE, the state of Qin  finally conquered the remaining states that had made up the Warring States and proclaimed the formation of a new dynasty under a centralized government. This essentially began the Imperial period of Chinese history, with the first Emperor Qin Shi Huang Di (秦始皇帝/Ch’in Shih Huang Di) effectively controlling the entirety of China.

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History of Chinese Calligraphy – The Golden Age of Chinese Calligraphy: Han Dynasty (漢朝/Han Chao/Han Ch’ao) and the Age of Text


The Formation of a Literati Class During Han Dynasty as an Ascendant for the Tradition of Chinese Calligraphy

After only a decade and a half, the Qin Dynasty fell apart. However the Han nation, under the direction of Liu Bang, quickly defeated the 18 Kingdoms to reunify China. The name for the Han Dynasty thus comes from the name of the ancient prinipality of of Han, in modern-day Si Chuan and Southern Shaanxi. Unlike the fall of the Zhou, the 18 Kingdoms period was only a few years long, and the Imperial model was rapidly reasserted. (Han dynasty map)  Central to the success of the Imperial model was the dedication of a class of scribes, officials and courtiers referred to collectively as the ‘literati’. These men (they were usually men) of letters provided the centralized government and social institutions with legitimacy by carrying out and contributing to the political discourse of their times.

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