China the Beautiful - copyright 1995-2007 by Ming L. Pei

Calligraphy of the Masters


Masters of Calligraphy

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Over the thousands of years, the style of Chinese calligraphy has evolved continually. About 213 B.C., under the famous Chin Shih Huang Ti, who perpetrated the 'burning of the books', the Prime Minister Li Szu drew up an official index of characters and unified the written form for the use of scholars. This is chuan-shu and contained more than 3,000 characters. From that time to the present, there are five major styles of calligraphy:

|  seal  |  clerical |  cursive |   regular |

More about the evolution of these styles (in Chinese [BIG5])

(The Japanese terms for these are: tensho, reisho, kaisho, gyosho, and sosho styles.)
It is remarkable that after two thousand years, all five styles of writings are still in use today.
A few arbitrarily selected works of the master calligraphers are presented herein.

Great Masters

Han Dynasty

Jin Dynasty






Tang Dynasty









Song Dynasty






  • Emperor [Song Huizong] [Sung Hui-tsung]
    Song Dynasty (1080-1135)


  • [Sima Guang][Si-ma Kuang] Song Dynasty (1019-1086)
  • Colophon

  • [Mi Fei][Mei Fei](aka Mi Fu) Northern Song Dynasty(1051-1107)

  • Calligraphy



    Yuan Dynasty



    Qing Dynasty







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