Discovering the Art of Chinese Calligraphy: A part of Courses in our Summer Program

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People worldwide have been fascinated by Chinese calligraphy for thousands of years. Calligraphy shows the elegance and beauty of Chinese culture through its complicated strokes and mesmerizing characters. 

This article will inform you about Chinese calligraphy and summer programs in Chinese schools where you can learn more.

Origins of Calligraphy

Chinese calligraphy originated in the Shang Dynasty (c. 1600–1046 BCE) when the first written forms of Chinese characters appeared. The first known type of Chinese writing was the Oracle Bone Script, engraved on animal bones and turtle shells. The Western Zhou Dynasty’s Bronze Inscriptions, written on ritual bronzeware, came next (1046–771 BCE).

Styles of Calligraphy

There are a few main types of Chinese calligraphy, and each has its style and set of characteristics.

  • Seal Script: a long-forgotten, highly stylized writing style mainly used for seals and inscriptions.
  • Clerical Script: During the Han Dynasty, official documents were written in a more straightforward, less ornate style.
  • Regular script: the most widely used script, distinguished by even and organized strokes.
  • Running and Cursive Scripts: more expressive and flowing techniques, emphasizing quickness and individual flare.

Tools & Materials

  • Brushes: Brushes come in various sizes and types to produce varied strokes and effects. They are made from animal hair and bamboo.
  • Ink: Ink comes in a variety of textures and hues of black, offering variable levels of intensity and consistency. It is traditionally manufactured from soot and animal glue.
  • Inkstones: a sturdy stone surface that blends water and ink sticks to achieve the correct consistency for calligraphy.
  • Paper: Paper used for calligraphy, also known as 宣纸, is manufactured from mulberry bark and is specifically constructed to display the beauty of the strokes and uniformly absorb ink.

Benefits of Learning Calligraphy

Learning Chinese calligraphy has many advantages, including the following:

  • Cultural Appreciation: Learning calligraphy will help you better understand Chinese culture and history.
  • Improved Focus & Concentration: Calligraphy takes intense concentration and accuracy, which can lead to better engagement in all facets of life.
  • Mindfulness & Relaxation: As you immerse yourself in the craft, calligraphy may be peaceful, encouraging awareness and relaxation.
  • Aesthetic Expression: Thanks to the elegant strokes and complex characters, you may express yourself artistically through calligraphy.

Chinese words related to calligraphy

书法 (shūfǎ) – Calligraphy

毛笔 (máobǐ) – Brush

墨 (mò) – Ink

砚台 (yàntái) – Inkstone

宣纸 (xuānzhǐ) – Xuan paper (calligraphy paper)

篆书 (zhuànshū) – Seal Script

隶书 (lìshū) – Clerical Script

楷书 (kǎishū) – Regular Script

行书 (xíngshū) – Running Script

草书 (cǎoshū) – Cursive Script

四宝 (sìbǎo) – Four Treasures of the Study (Brush, Ink, Inkstone, and Paper)

笔画 (bǐhuà) – Strokes (in calligraphy)

字形 (zìxíng) – Character structure

书法家 (shūfǎjiā) – Calligrapher

书坛 (shūtán) – Calligraphy circle/community

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Basic strokes of Chinese calligraphy

Horizontal stroke (横 / héng): A straight stroke drawn from left to right.

Vertical stroke (竖 / shù): A straight stroke drawn from top to bottom.

Dot (点 / diǎn): A minor, round stroke, usually made by pressing the brush down and lifting it quickly.

Downward left stroke (撇 / piě): A stroke drawn diagonally from top right to bottom left, with a slight curve.

Downward right stroke (捺 / nà): A stroke drawn diagonally from top left to bottom right, with a slight curve. It often ends with a heavy press and a small upward lift.

Upward stroke (提 / tí): A short, upward stroke, usually starting from the bottom and curving slightly upwards to the right.

Hook (钩 / gōu): A short stroke with a sharp turn, usually at the end of another stroke. It can hook in various directions, such as left, right, or upwards.

Horizontal stroke with a hook (横钩 / hénggōu): A horizontal stroke that ends with a rightward hook.

Vertical stroke with a hook (竖钩 / shùgōu): A vertical stroke that ends with a rightward hook.

Horizontal stroke with a downward left turn (横折 / héngzhé): A horizontal stroke that bends down to the left, forming an angle or a corner.

Vertical stroke with a downward left turn (竖折 / shùzhé): A vertical stroke that bends down to the left, forming an angle or a corner.

Downward left stroke with a hook (撇钩 / piěgōu): A downward left stroke that ends with a rightward or upward curve.

Summer Program – Calligraphy Course

Chinese schools’ summer programs present a singular chance to study calligraphy in a real-world setting.

  • Expert Instructors: instructors that are knowledgeable and skilled in calligraphy and can walk you through its many styles and approaches.
  • Small Group Instruction: Classes are maintained small to ensure individualized attention and coaching for each student.
  • Customized Learning Plans: The curriculum is designed to match each student’s needs and educational levels, resulting in a rewarding educational experience.


Are prior calligraphy skills required to join a summer program?

No, summer programs are made for students of all skill levels, from those who have never done it before to those who are very good at it.

How long do the summer calligraphy programs typically last?

The length of summer calligraphy courses might vary, but the majority last between two and eight weeks.

Do I need to speak Chinese to participate in a summer calligraphy program?

The majority of summer calligraphy classes do not require Chinese language proficiency. However, it might be helpful. Students can typically get assistance from lecturers and translators who speak English.


Sign up for our SUMMER CAMP in 2023 to learn more about Chinese culture.

Get to know holidays in China in 2023.

Get free Chinese learning resources.

Read about the Spring Festival Celebration on NRK’s ​​website:

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