Chinese characters evolved from
pictures and signs, and the unique Chinese calligraphy came into
being during the development of writing. Using fine paper, brushes
and ink, calligraphers have evolved a richly varied tradition of
calligraphic styles, which have been handed down from generation
Great calligraphers came to the
fore in each dynasty. Their calligraphy and styles thus became representative
of their time. The best-known of them was the “Sage Calligrapher”
Wang Xizhi of the Eastern Jin Dynasty. His cursive script is handsome,
bold and unrestrained, and has been described as “like dragons flying
and phoenixes dancing.” His son, Wang Xianzhi, was also a famous
calligrapher. The Tang Dynasty was a brilliant age of calligraphy.
Ouyang Xun, Chu Suiliang, Yan Zhenqing and Liu Gongquan were the
great master calligraphers of that time, and their works have been
models for students of calligraphy to this day.
The modern master calligrapher
is Wu Changshuo. His work often appears on paintings, in a seal-like
The Chinese Calligraphers’
Association and local calligraphers’ associations at all levels often
stage competitions and hold exhibitions. Universities, enterprises
and institutions have their own calligraphy associations.