Chinese calligraphy (the art of writing) is an important part of Chinese culture, and it has traditionally been regarded as the highest form of visual art in China. With a history of four to five thousand years, Chinese calligraphy is rich in content and has attracted the attention of artists all over the world. The local name for calligraphy in China is Shufa, which literally means the way, rule, or law of writing.
The tools of calligraphy are paper, ink, ink-stone and brush, which are commonly referred to as the four treasures. In addition to these four tools, a water-dropper, and desk pads and paperweights are used by calligraphers.
There are seven standard strokes, called the Seven Mysteries.
1. The horizontal line
2. The dot
3. The Sweeping downward stroke
4. The vertical line
5. The sharp curve
6. The two forms of the downward stroke
There are six major styles of Chinese calligraphy. Differences in style can convey the feelings and character of the artist who creates the art.
1. Seal character (Zuanshu in Chinese)
2. Cerical official script (Lishu in Chinese)
3. Cursive script (Caoshu in Chinese)
4. Running hard or semi-cursive script (Xingshu in Chinese)
5. Standard or regular script (Kaishu in Chinese)
6. Stone bablet inscription (Weibei in Chinese)
Chinese calligraphy is so abstract, and it is universally regarded to the most revealing power of a person in Chinese culture. It is also considered as an active way of keeping one fit and health. Historically, many calligraphy artists in China were well known for their longevity.