Origin and Development of Chinese Calligraphy

Topics: Old Chinese, Chinese language, Shang Dynasty Pages: 3 (869 words) Published: April 27, 2013
Origin and Development of Chinese Calligraphy
Chinese calligraphic characters are very well known even in modern days; we can easily find them on the walls or banners in chinese stores or restaurants. In fact, chinese calligraphy has gone through a period of almost five thousand years, from complex characters on bones, to seal script, clerical script, running script and finally the most well popular and known standard script, and other kinds of script like cursive script. Moreover, chinese calligraphy has always been considered as a kind of art and the reflection of the writer’s personality. So, all in all, chinese calligraphy is a great invention and has a long history.

Chinese calligraphy starts from Shang Dynasty in 2000-1700 B.C.E. The first kind of chinese calligraphy is called Oracle Bones Inscription. As the literal meaning of its name, it implies that Oracle Bones Inscription was written or engraved on tortoise shells and animals bones; it is also used for divination because ancient chinese people were superstitious. When they tried to communicate with those who were already dead and said to be in the heaven, in order to gather information about their future, they used oracle bone scripts. Scholar consider Oracle Bone Script as a fully functional and mature writing system because it is able to record the old chinese language in its entirety. Oracle bone script is like a mature version of Pictograph, looking as the described objects themselves.

Later in 1045-256 B.C.E, Zhou Dynasty, Oracle Bone Script was developed to a new kind of calligraphy called Great Seal. Great Seal has other names, like Dazhuan or Jinwen. In general, Great Seal was engraved on Bronze Vessels, but some special Great Seal engraved on drum shaped stones is called Stone Drum Script or Shiguwen. It is the same as Great Seal, but was labeled with a different name when written on a different place. Great Seal looks like a slightly simpler version of Oracle Bone...
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