Chinese Calligraphy – Seal carving

Seal engraved art, is calligraphy (mainly Seal ) and engraved (including cutting, casting ) in combination, to produce the seal art, is the Chinese character art form unique. Seal first emerged in the Qin, Han Sheng, decline to Jin, defeated the Tang, Song, revival in the Ming, ZTE to clear. It has a history of more than 3,700 years.

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Word meaning interpretation

篆刻:[zhuàn kè]

(1) Writing metaphorically and writing carefully.

(2) It means sculpting and over-modifying the text.

(3) Engraving seals.



As early as the Yin and Shang era, people used knives to carve “characters” on tortoise shells (that is, in modern times called Oracle ). These words have a sharp edge and fine brushwork, with a high level of “engraving”. Before the Spring and Autumn Period and the Warring States Period to the Qin Dynasty, seals were called “xi” or “xi”. The seal was carved on jade and the xi was carved on metal. After Qin Shihuang unified the six kingdoms, he stipulated that the “xi” was exclusively used by the emperor, and the seals used by ministers and private individuals were collectively referred to as “prints”. This forms the emperor with India called “seal” or “treasure”, the official seal called “India”, said the general with India “chapter”, said the Indian private use “seals”.

“seal” the word ancient writing “engraved lines” from jade next to the word. All the patterns carved on jade stone are called “瑑”. Later, bamboo silk became a popular writing utensil, so the symbol of seal characters was changed from “Jade” to “Bamboo”. In fact, in ancient times, all areas of carving jade, carving stone, carving bamboo, and inscribed copper can be called “seal carving”, and the carving of seals are only a small part. When Qin Shihuang arrived, the entire country was organized into eight types of scripts. The characters on the printed pages were called ” Miao Zhuan “; when Wang Mang set the sixth book, it was called ” Miao Zhuan “. From then on, it became clear that the seal script was the seal type. Use fonts. During the Tang and Song dynasties, due to the preferences of literati and ink scholars, although the seal system was changed, seal scripts were still used for printing. Until the Ming and Qing dynasties, when the seals appeared in large numbers, seal cutting became based on seal scripts. It expresses the artistic style of density and separation, and seal carving has also changed from the broad sense of carving and inscription to the narrow sense of seal management. The study of seal control is also directly called “engraved seal”, “stylus pen”, “iron book”, “carved seal” and so on.

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At the fourth meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Protection of Intangible Cultural Heritage of UNESCO held from September 28 to October 2, 2009, China declared the Dragon Boat Festival, Chinese calligraphy, Chinese seal cutting, Chinese paper cutting, Chinese engraving, and printing Techniques, Chinese traditional wooden structure construction techniques, Chinese traditional mulberry silk weaving techniques, Longquan celadon traditional firing techniques, Mazu beliefs, Nanyin, Nanjing cloud brocade weaving techniques, traditional rice paper production techniques, Dong folk songs, Cantonese opera, Gesa (Sri) 22 projects including Er, Regong Art, Tibetan Opera, Manas, Huaer, Xi’an Drum Music, Chinese Korean Farming Music Dance, and Humai were selected as the “List of Representative Works of Human Intangible Cultural Heritage.”



Seal cutting has gone through more than ten dynasties in a long history of more than 3,700 years since its origin. In this long-term development process, the art of seal cutting has appeared in two highly developed historical stages.

One was during the Warring States, Qin and Han Dynasties, Wei and Jin Dynasties. During this period, the seal cutting materials were mainly jade, gold, teeth, and horns. It is called the “Ancient Seal Cutting Art Period”, and its characteristics of seal cutting art are mainly divided by era. Seal cutting developed to the Tang, Song, and Yuan periods, but was in a period of decline. During this period, as the application of regular script replaced the seal script, and the official seal and private seal were fundamentally separated, the art of seal carving went downhill. At the end of the Yuan Dynasty, this situation took a turn for the better. The painter Wang Mian discovered that the flower milk stone could be used for printing, which made the stone an ideal material for printing. In the Ming Dynasty, the art of seal cutting entered a period of renaissance.

Since the Ming and Qing Dynasties, seal cutting has ushered in its second peak period of development, and its artistic characteristics of seal cutting are mainly characterized by diverse genres. During this period, Wen Peng and He Zhen played an important role in the creation of the genre of seal-cutting art. Wen Peng is Wen Zhengming ‘s son, was his chance, he found the “light stone” stone-cold treatment can be used as printed material. After his advocacy, the stone is widely used. In the following period of time, the art of seal cutting showed various schools, and artists such as Cheng Xi, Ding Jing, Deng Shiru, Huang Mufu, Zhao Zhiqian, and Wu Rangzhi appeared. For a time, the art of seal cutting showed a prosperous scene.

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Until modern and modern seal carving masters Wu Changshuo, Li Liangyu, Qi Baishi, thus forming a complete history of Chinese seal carving. The art of seal cutting is a perfect combination of calligraphy, chapters, and swords. In one seal, there are magnificent and elegant calligraphy pens, beautiful and pleasing painting compositions, and the vivid carving charm of swordsmanship. It can be said to be “everything in every inch”.

Chinese Calligraphy – the Four Treasures of Study

The four treasures of the study are the unique calligraphy and painting tools (painting and calligraphy tools) in China, namely pen、ink、paper、Inkstone.

The name of the four treasures of the study originated from the Northern and Southern Dynasties period.

Historically, the things referred to by the “Four Treasures of Study” have changed frequently. In the Southern Tang Dynasty, the “Four Treasures of the Study” specifically referred to Anhui Xuancheng Zhuge pen、 Anhui Huizhou Lee Ting Kyu ink、Anhui Huizhou Chengxintang paper、Anhui Huizhou Wuyuan Dragon Tail Inkstone.

Since the Song Dynasty, the “Four Treasures of the Study” specifically refer to Xuan pen(AnhuiXuancheng)、Emblem ink(AnhuiHuizhou She County), Xuan paper(AnhuiXuancheng Jingxian)、Inkstone(AnhuiHuizhou She County)、Tao Inkstone(Gansu Zhuoni County)、Inkstone(Guangdong Zhaoqing, The ancient name Duanzhou).

Yuan Dynastyafter, Lake pen(Zhejiang Huzhou) Gradually flourishing, Xuan pen gradually declining, after the reform and opening up, Xuan pen gradually returned to life.

The four treasures of the study

Many Chinese appliances are unique. They not only show the customs of the Chinese nation that are different from other nations but also contribute to the progress and development of world culture. The most typical of them are the writing tools known as the “Four Treasures of the Study”: paper, pen, ink, and Inkstone.



The tools and materials of Chinese calligraphy basically evolved from the pen, ink, paper, and Inkstone. People usually call them the “Four Treasures of the Study”, roughly speaking, they are the four essential treasures in the literati study.

Because ancient Chinese literati are basically capable of writing, or painting, or both reading and painting, they cannot do without peninkpaperInkstoneThese four treasures.

The name “Study Room” originated from the Northern and Southern Dynasties period in my country’s history (420-589 AD). It specifically refers to the scholar’s study room. Pen, ink, paper, and Inkstone were used as the study room and were used by people. Known as the “Four Treasures of the Study”. Stationery equipment in addition to the four treasures, there are pen tube、pen rack、ink bed、ink box、Arm rest、pen wash、Book town、Minato, Spoon, Inkstone drops、 Inkstone box、Inkpad、Printing box、Cutter、stamp、reel and so on, they are all essential items in the study.



Paper is a great invention of China. Although there are tens of millions of paper varieties in the world, ” Xuan paper” is still a unique handmade paper for Hair pen painting and calligraphy. Xuan paper has a flexible texture, white and smooth texture, durable color, and strong water absorption. It has the reputation of “paper with a thousand years of life” in the world.


Writing brush

Writing brush is a unique writing and painting tool that used feathers to write with feathers in ancient Chinese and Western nations. Although lead pens, ball pens, steel pens, etc. are popular in the world today, writing brushes cannot be replaced.

It is said that the Hair pen was created by Meng Tian, so Houdian, Hengshui County, Hebei Province, known as the hometown of the Hair pen, is on the third day of the third lunar month. It is like a Chinese New Year, every family makes dumplings and drinks to celebrate the creation of Meng Tian’s Hair pen. Since the Yuan Dynasty, the “Lake pen” produced in Huzhou, Zhejiang Province, which has the characteristics of “sharp, round and healthy”, has become the most famous in the country. Hair penVariety.

writing brush


Ink is the color material for writing and painting. Famous Ink Craftsman in Tang Dynasty Xi ChaoThe good ink of Xi Ting father-son system was appreciated by Li Yu, the post-master of the Southern Tang Dynasty, and his family gave the country the surname “Li”. From” Li ink”The name is all over the world. In the Song Dynasty, She County, where Li ink was produced, was renamed Huizhou, and “Li ink” was renamed “Emblem ink”.



Inkstone, commonly known as Inkstone station, Is a tool for Chinese writing, painting and grinding pigments. Inkstone was popular in the Han Dynasty, and it has been widely used in the Song Dynasty. There are many varieties in the Ming and Qing dynasties, and the “four famous Inkstone” appeared by people. Tao Inkstone, Inkstone, She Inkstone and Cheng Ni Inkstone. Ancient Chinese literati attached great importance to Inkstone, not only staying with it all day long, but also using it for burial after death.

The four treasures of the study are unique. They not only show the customs of the Chinese nation that are different from other nations but also contribute to the progress and development of world culture and national culture. Today, China is in a new period of advancing towards modernization. Understanding the excellent Chinese culture of the past is precisely to create the new culture of the future. This is extremely important for improving national self-esteem and strengthening national cohesion.


Chinese Calligraphy – Calligraphy with pens

Calligraphy with pens is a bright pearl in the garden of calligraphy art. Its writing tools include fountain pens, gel pens, fine art pens, pencils, chalks, etc., using ink or powdered media as the main carrier to express the writing skills of Chinese characters. It has the characteristics of convenient carrying, quick writing, and wide use-value. The visual difference between it and brush calligraphy lies in the thickness or slenderness of the strokes, which is like removing the flesh and tendons to preserve the bones. But the principles of imaging and exercise skills are very different, they are two different exercise modes.

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Classification characteristics

Hard pen calligraphy is divided into hard pen calligraphy and practical hard pen calligraphy. The former mainly emphasizes artistry and the latter mainly emphasizes practicality. The artistry of hard pen calligraphy mainly expresses the writer’s knowledge and feelings of calligraphy through changes in lines and structure. It pursues beauty, emotion, interest, artistic conception, personality, etc.; while practical hard pen calligraphy refers to daily writing, Mainly to meet practical needs, can be easy to write and easy to recognize, the key is to write fast and standardized, so practical hard pen calligraphy is based on the running script.

Hard pen calligraphy art

The characteristics of hard pen calligraphy are mainly compared with brush calligraphy. 1. Because the material of the hard pen nib is relatively hard, its line changes are not as large as that of soft pens-writing brushes; 2. Because the hard pens generally used are mainly fountain pens, the lines are much more subtle than that of a writing brush. Therefore, the font is much smaller, even smaller than the lower case of a writing brush; 3. Because of the material of the pen, a hard brush is easier to control than a writing brush.

Practical hard pen calligraphy

It is based on the running script and borrows part of cursive writing to meet the needs of daily work, study and life. Mainly fountain pens, Practical hard pen calligraphy, mainly emphasizes practicality, but more emphasis on artistry. Practical hard pen calligraphy can be easy to write and easy to recognize. The key is to write fast and standardized. The characteristic of running script is that it is easy to write, and can be written quickly. Standard running script is also easy to recognize, so Practical hard pen calligraphy, is based on the running script.

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How to write

If you want to write a good character, you must first raise your aesthetic awareness, that is, know what kind of character is written and why it looks good; secondly, you can use the pen in your hand to write the beautiful shape you want to write, this is your control pen The ability of the pen is the basic skills of writing pen. So if you have a certain sense of aesthetics and certain basic skills, you will be able to write well! Whether it is to improve aesthetic awareness or strengthen basic skills training, it is required to read more, write more, and think more, so as to be able to see hands, and hearts. There is no shortcut to practice calligraphy.


So what kind of character is considered to be a good-looking character? The quality of a character depends on its lines and frame structure; for a character, in addition to a single character, it also depends on its quality. Layout (i.e. chapter law). The beautiful lines should be clearly explained, the strokes are smooth and free, and the priorities are appropriate, showing a beautiful shape and demeanor, full of vitality, light or heavy, slow or urgent, rigid or soft, and return to nature. Lines that are unclear, dull, and inconstant, are naturally unsightly; the interframe structure, that is, the combination of strokes of a character, such as a length, straightness, and angle of the strokes, the spacing and thickness (weight) between strokes. , Anaphora relationship, etc. For beginners, it is advisable to first seek symmetry and dignity in the structure of the characters, and then consider changes according to needs and personal habits (personality).


Layout, also called “chapter”, is the arrangement of words. Such as the size and shape of the characters, the position of the arrangement and the angle of placement, the anaphora relationship between up and down, left and right, and so on. As far as brush calligraphy is concerned, it is necessary to consider the change of ink color and dryness, but practical hard brush calligraphy can ignore these. As far as general and practical writing is concerned, the layout of the chapter should be two points: first, in a row or column, so that the center of gravity of each word is basically on the same straight line; second, the size and shape of the word should be slightly distinguished. In other words, write more compact characters with more strokes, thin lines as much as possible, write looser characters with fewer strokes, and write thicker lines as possible for characters with small strokes. But in general, the characters with more strokes are bigger, and the characters with fewer strokes are smaller. However, there are few strokes, but the strokes are stretched, and can be written larger, such as the vertical drawing of the character “中”, the horizontal drawing of the character “安”, the drawing of the character “人”, etc., which can be based on the preceding and following words. Matching needs vary. In the regular script, the size distinction of characters is not very obvious; while in the running script, the size distinction of characters can be very obvious, and it is more obvious in some cursive scripts. In addition, proper exaggeration of the main strokes of individual characters in the running script will produce vivid and beautiful effects for the whole text. For example, in Mao Zedong’s calligraphy, the size of the characters varies greatly, scattered in a precise manner, and majestic, with a majestic momentum.

Mao Zedong's poet

If you know how to write the characters better, then go and practice! Practicing with interest, diligent practice, and more copying can not only strengthen the ability to control the pen but also learn other people’s good writing methods. Read more copybooks, copy repeatedly, practice makes perfect, this is the best way. As long as you insist on doing this, you will have a big gain, and fun will come from it! If you don’t know how to practice calligraphy, it will bring you unexpected gains in your life! Or it will improve your life from now on! In fact, it’s not inaccurate, but yes. There are many benefits of practicing calligraphy. For example, it will be of great benefit to the improvement of your writing level, for example, it will be of great benefit to the improvement of your character, etc., here, because of space It is limited, so I won’t repeat it, and I will experience it in the future practice of calligraphy.


Tool materials and writing

You can use ordinary paper to practice calligraphy. Of course, when writing with a pen, it is required that the paper does not bleed. The pen used for calligraphy is an ordinary pen. It is best for the pen to have smooth water, especially when using carbon ink. It is often necessary to wash it with water because carbon ink tends to clump and plug the pen. When using a pen, pay attention to putting on the pen sleeve when you are not writing, so as to prevent the ink from agglomerating and clogging the pen due to the volatilization of water.


There are different opinions on writing methods. For brushes, there is a saying that there is no fixed method for writing, and some people say that “beginners should hold the pen more tightly and can practice strength. After proficiency, they need to be able to tighten and loosen and move the pen freely.” Even the writing position is different, the shape of the written characters will be very different. For a hard pen, the general method of holding the pen is to hold the pen with the middle finger at the bottom and hold the pen with the index finger and thumb at the top to control the pen. It is comfortable and natural to write, and the pen can be used freely in all directions. . The pen position is low, the ability to control the pen is enhanced, but it is difficult to stretch it when writing; the pen position is high, the pen is more difficult to control, but the long, stretched strokes can be used more freely, so you have to think about it yourself, Experience carefully, and find a writing method that suits you. You might as well take a pen to give it a try, and write some easy-to-write characters on the manuscript paper, large or small, fast or slow, or hold the pen firmly or lightly, or hold the low point or the high point, more Try it and see if you can use it freely. By doing this often, you can not only find a method that suits you, but you can also move your wrists and become familiar with the pen so that your hands, eyes, and heart can achieve better coordination and unity.

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Sitting posture is also very important when writing. Foot safety, head upright, chest erect, arms open, and the abdomen closed are the best postures for learning, and naturally, they should be followed when writing. Some people can write the words correctly only when the paper is slanted, and the writing will be skewed when the paper is slanted. This is just a matter of habit. Gradually, gradually correcting it bit by bit can get rid of this habit. In the end, the head, body, eyes, paper, etc. should all be correct.

Chinese Calligraphy – The writing brush calligraphy

The writing brush calligraphy is a traditional art unique to China. Throughout the ages, Chinese characters were created by the working people. They began to express characters in the form of pictures. After thousands of years of development, they evolved into today’s characters. In ancient times, writing with a brush for a long time gave rise to calligraphy. All Chinese characters are written with a brush. As for other writing forms, their writing rules are not completely different from those of a brush but are basically the same. Here is an introduction to brush calligraphy.

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Calligraphy features

There are five types of calligraphy in brush calligraphy, namely, running script, cursive script, official script, seal script, and regular script calligraphy.

The pros and cons of calligraphy works are mainly judged through the lines, fluency, and integrity of the font. China is the birthplace of calligraphy art and culture, and it is also the first country to use brushes. Chinese calligrapher

One after another, such as Wang Xizhi, Yan Zhenqing, Huai Su, Su Dongpo, Huang Tingjian, Mi Fu, Wang Duo, Liu Gongquan, as well as modern Sha Menghai, Qi Gong, Liu Huipu (alive), these literary scholars are all masters of calligraphy. The art of brush calligraphy needs to be carried forward by the next generation, and we need to work hard.

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Calligraphy Classification

Chinese calligraphy is a unique traditional art in China, which is mainly divided into ” soft pen calligraphy ” and ” hard pen calligraphy “. Throughout the ages, Chinese characters were created by working people. They began to use pictures to record things. After thousands of years of development, they evolved into today’s characters. And because ancestors invented writing with brushes, calligraphy came into being. Throughout the ages, Chinese characters have been written with brushes. Mainly, as for other writing forms, such as hard pen and finger book, their writing rules are not completely different from those of brush writing but are basically the same. Based on seeking the original source (after the nail bone inscription), here is an introduction to the law of writing Chinese characters with a brush. As long as we have a “narrow” understanding of calligraphy, it will be of great benefit to understanding “calligraphy in a broad sense”.

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In a narrow sense, calligraphy refers to the methods and rules of writing Chinese characters with a brush. Including writing, movement, stippling, structure, layout (distribution, line order, chapters ), etc. For example, when the pen refers to the real palm, the five fingers are full of strength; the stroke is at the center of the stroke; the strokes are the same as the strokes, and the smoothness is the same; the structure is in the shape of the characters and echoes with each other; the distribution is intricate and dense, the virtual and the real are intertwined, and the whole chapter is connected; The style is literate, the style is the old style, the style is big and the style is small.

In a broad sense, calligraphy refers to the writing rules of language symbols. In other words, calligraphy refers to writing according to the characteristics and meaning of the text, using its calligraphy, structure, and composition to make it a beautiful artistic work. With the development of cultural undertakings, calligraphy is no longer limited to the use of brushes and writing Chinese characters. Its connotation has greatly increased. For example, in terms of tools, there are many different types of pens alone, including brushes, hard pens, computer instruments, spray guns, and daily tools. The pigment is not only the use of black ink, ink, adhesives, chemical agents, spray paint, glaze, etc. are colorful, all surprising. The past four treasures of the study -pen, ink, paper, and inkstone have greatly expanded their meanings, and there are too many varieties. From the perspective of writing styles, some use their hands, some use their feet, and use other organs. There is no shortage of people who write, and some people don’t even use a pen at all, such as “finger book”, “crowd out book”, etc.; in terms of writing style, it is not a kind of Chinese characters, and some minority languages ​​are also listed.

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In the calligraphy art circle, Mongolian is an example; from the perspective of calligraphy and composition, in addition to the authentic traditional calligraphy, there has also been an “intentional” school with the same straight (line) and dynamic and static combination, which is the so-called modern calligraphy. It is based on traditional calligraphy, innovating, highlighting the word “change”, integrating poetry, calligraphy, and painting, and striving to unify the form and content, making the work a three-beauty masterpiece of “beauty in beauty, sound, and form”. In Japan, many calligraphers abandon the linguistic nature of the text and establish the “imagery” of the text. The “ink-like” school appeared, using the weight of the pen, the opening, and closing of the pen and the changes in the position of the pen, etc. Various images of text. Although this school of books emphasizes ” imagery ” and its characters are novel, but not all Chinese characters are “imagery” characters, so it is difficult to walk and development is restricted. All of these (of course not only these), but it can also be seen that calligraphy, like other things, is constantly developing and changing. This must arouse great attention from the calligraphy circles.


Common strokes

Common strokes are: horizontal (short horizontal, left-pointed horizontal, right-pointed horizontal, etc.), vertical (hanging needle vertical, short vertical, vertical exposed vertical), slanting (short scribing, vertical scribing, etc.) Short touch), point, mention (vertical mention, etc.)