Ancient Chinese Calligraphy


Calligraphy established itself as the most important ancient Chinese art form alongside painting, first coming to the fore during the Han dynasty (206 BCE - 220 CE). All educated men and some court women were expected to be proficient at it, an expectation which remained well into modern times. Far more than mere writing, good calligraphy exhibited an exquisite brush control and attention to composition, but the actual manner of writing was also important with rapid, spontaneous strokes being the ideal. The brushwork of calligraphy, its philosophy, and materials would influence Chinese painting styles, especially landscape painting, and many of the ancient scripts are still imitated today in modern Chinese writing.

More about: Ancient Chinese Calligraphy


  • 1600 BCE - 1046 BCE
    Writing develops in China during the Shang Dynasty.
  • c. 1250 BCE - 1046 BCE
    Oracle Bones in use in China during the Shang Dynasty.
  • 105 CE
    Invention of fine paper-making process by Cai Lun.
  • c. 303 CE - c. 365 CE
    Life of Wang Xizhi, China's most famous calligrapher.