Scripts Styles of Chinese Calligraphy: What are the Different Scripts Styles of Chinese Calligraphy and how to Identify them?


What is a Script Style in Chinese Calligraphy?

Part of the allure of Chinese calligraphy is the considerable stylistic diversity available to the artist. The Chinese writing system contains tens of thousands of individual characters. Thus, by sheer number of characters alone, Chinese presents the artist with an astounding array of possible combinations. Yet, how do we classify all the possible way of executing these graphs?

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Script Styles of Chinese Calligraphy: An Overview of Kai Shu (楷書) – the Standard Script Style


What is the Standard Script Style (Kai Shu / 楷書) in Chinese Calligraphy?

What is today known as the Standard Script, or Kai Shu (楷書), entered the Chinese writing tradition as a well-defined and mature script only in the Tang Dynasty (618-907 CE). It dispensed with the overt formality of Clerical (隸書/Li Shu) and Seal Scripts (篆書: Zhuan Shu). Likewise, it eschewed the liberation and near-illegibility of the Cursive Scripts. Fully embracing the tools of the Calligrapher, Kai Shu became the favored script for everyday writing, and remains so to this day. Although Seal and Clerical scripts may be chosen as the first to learn, choosing to start with Standard Script will best allow the novice to experiment with greater freedom or formality in later stages.

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