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Facts on Chinese Calligraphy

Chinese Calligraphy is an important part of Chinese culture; calligraphers are revered citizens. Differences in style can convey the feelings, culture and character of the artist who uses language to create their art. Translated, calligraphy means, "good writing."

Calligraphy originated in China, spreading to other parts of the Orient with Chinese culture. The art of calligraphy is between 4,000 and 5,000 years old. Calligraphy is the art of writing Chinese characters and especially refers to the rules of writing with a brush. The emergence of calligraphy is closely associated with the special style of Chinese characters. When writing Chinese characters, emphasis is placed on the change in the stipples and lines as well as spacing between the characters and the lines. A beautiful composition and strong artistic sense are also important.

Paper and Brushes

Typically, calligraphy is done on thin, absorbent rice paper. Brushes are made from animal hair secured to bamboo reeds. Common hair used comes from wolves, sheep, rabbits and deer.


Chinese ink sold in solid stick form is lavishly decorated. The ink is made from pinewood soot mixed with gum resin. Ink stones are hard, flat and dabbed with water for use.


There are seven standard strokes, called the Seven Mysteries. They consist of the horizontal line, the dot, the sweeping downward stroke, the sharp curve and two forms of the downward stroke: one with a hook and one in a 45-degree angle.


There are five major styles of Chinese calligraphy: Zuan, Li, Tsao, Hsin and Kai. With all, the palm may not touch the brush, which is held vertically to the paper.

Just like working on anything else, practicing calligraphy requires unremitting efforts. If you’re interested in it, you may start practicing with a professional right away.

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